The Jane Moran Prize
Love and Other Hand Grenades
Love’s mess is as explosive as
survival—spark violent as ripe
pomegranates bursting seeds in fall.
Some days I hate that I love you
this much. It’d be easier, prettier if I could
pack up my books, leave
the cats and cast iron pans behind.
Stuck to the fridge a note without
punctuation about traveling on. How would I
look as a wanderer? My hair long,
smelling of someone else’s musk. The girl
with a hundred lovers: a brunette Joni Mitchell
without the dulcimer. The lives
we have to murder for each choice. Or
imagine we must because there’s no way to know
otherwise. Each day a fuse
sizzling towards detonation. We throw
sparks to one another like flirtations, like
dares. Save the biggest blasts
for the ones we know will put us back
together again. This is why we’re so
fragmented. Why it’s so exhausting to stay
in love. The real thing—not
the passion of battle. But the bandaging, the salve.
To love you this way is to keep our wounds
fresh. To toss our fragile shells
back and forth, like mistaking
a grenade for a hot potato. No surprise that
we long for the same feeling we run from.
Here are my insides, love. Promise to make me
whole. I am the wounded that needs to be
fixed. You are both doctor and enemy.
You’ve seen the places I cannot look.
It is hardest to be loved this way—and to love as if
there were no end. A gesture against extinction:
a hand bearing fruit, sowing fire in the holes.