Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2014  Vol. 13  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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I’ve never understood how someone could fall in love
and just as quickly fall out, as if love were the Chunnel
or a grand mal seizure. Take my friend Al, a surgeon,
an otherwise bright guy who shared a suite with me at Yale,
he meets a girl online, dates her for a week, and pretty
soon he’s professing an undying love, tattoos her Zodiac
sign on his bicep, and they go everywhere together—
the groceries, the gym, the shower—and pretty soon
they’re calling each other “honey,” which is the amazing
part because the only thing I’ve ever called “honey”
was printed on glossy paper or pressed in a candy shop,
and he describes this girl as a “swan,” which just a few
weeks later becomes a “snake,” how is this possible,
for love to evaporate, one mayfly to the next,
and I think maybe they’ve confused the concept
of love with something else, lust or infatuation,
maybe comfort, as in the Garzas of apartment twelve,
who’ve lived there so long it’s hard to tell where
the walls end and their wrinkled bodies begin,
they’re nudists, which might explain how they’ve been
together so long, mob kings form their families
in the same way, out of secrets, every day the Garzas
shout and pound things, it’s horrendous really, picturing
their old, flaccid bodies in the motion of argument,
you can tell very easily that they despise each other,
yet they’ve been together since before Truman,
and they’ll surely die together, but it’s not love,
and the way I’ve got a secret drawer in my office
full of Bar Refaeli photos, I love those things, all
wonderful curve and the kind of honey I know best,
except it’s not Bar, but a clone of the Israeli delight
some pothead with Photoshop has airbrushed,
and this is how I know it’s not love when I spend
my lunch hour in a stare, because love is love for one
thing if you’re in it, but this version of Bar is just
as loveable as any other, what I mean to say is
it’s not my mom and dad, hitting an eighteenth year
of dystopian marriage for the kids, or the John Bircher
on Price Road who waves his “Obama is a Muslim”
banner and proclaims his love for God and country,
or the character my brother’s got to thinking is a savior,
“he died for your sins, bro, don’t you know?” and I know
just as surely that asking for payback is no kind of love,
so I go on in disbelief, and relax on the crooked bar stool
thinking about the beetle in the box, waiting for my wife
to get home and settle the issue for at least another night
before she goes back to work and takes certainty with her.  end  

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