Animal Love

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
--Mary Oliver

Love shouldn't be this hard.
This hard, hurt thing that breaks
me when I run into it
as I have, over and over
like my fucking shin into the coffee table
that I finally had the sense to throw out.

But I can't throw out love
every time I try it comes slinking back
in some other form, in some other face
yet another pair of hands that offer 
rough caresses, arms that hold me 
with promises never to let go. 
Slender things, easily blown away
On a lover's post-coital exhalations.

What if there were no promises? 
No words at all
only love, this animal that eats and sleeps, 
gives and takes affection. 
This sweet dumb beast that speaks 
with touch and breath
and wild songs for its beloved
and cannot tell a lie.

How simple it would be to hold you then
to sing my wild imperfect songs into your mouth
taste your salt skin and invite you in
no sharp corners, no broken things.
A simple, animal love:
two beasts promising nothing
yet possessing all.

KB ©5/2015


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