This is not a love letter. This doesn’t end with me touching your small breasts,
or looking into your hazel-shifting-green, depending-on-the-day-hazel eye.
This doesn’t end with me holding you close
while I hear the rise of your sleeping rib.
This just isn’t a love poem, not what you think, or thought.
This is anti-love. This is about all that there wasn’t
in the space too big to fill.
I was only ever perfect, never—
you see. Just never.
Once I wrote a Surrealist Peruvian ode—just for you,
and I wanted to slurp you like vegetarian soba noodles only pausing for—
no, not ever pausing. I meant it then—but you—I was just never.
Love is too abstract.
They’ll tell me it’s been too long for this now, and I’ll say no,
it’s been just long enough. They’ll say just pick around the chicken,
and let go. And I’ll say this isn’t chicken anymore.
You always knew the line, the green and the hazel,
that was for you, my past love, gone—and maybe never had—
but gone, yes.
I don’t eat meat anymore,
the rotting flesh hurting my broken back—
my lame excuse for humanity.
And this is not about love—
it’s about the mold inside the uncut avocado
and it’s about unfilled bellies,
and dead children murdered for insanity;
it’s about a black crow,
and a snowy white owl,
about the prayer beads that have always been mine.
It’s about you kissing the space between my hairline and eyebrow,
whispering: you are safe.
My tattooed foot says believe—
I was only ever perfect, never.
Sarah Sandman lives in Fort Wayne, and works as a writing teacher at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne. She is also the author of the collection I Speak Moan.
Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!