An Anti-Love Poem

Prompted to write from a journal. I’m threatened lately by that level of vulnerability. This is a reductive poem from a short story I wrote called “Heart of Tin & Dried Flowers”.

“I take solace in other people,” she confessed one night, comforted by the familiarity of her beauty.

When I held her in my arms that night, her hair smelled of the ocean. Immediately,

I was lost at sea.

When she handed me [her heart], she said

I could keep it.

Ishouldhaveknown ishouldhaveknown ishouldhaveknown

there was a cost.

A Christian girl – a faith & a fervor in a god I did not understand.

A Christian girl – selfish & greedy.

eyes on 30 pieces of silver above her.

(like Judas.)

I just waited for the ultimate betrayal.

(Thought love was fire ablaze. Thought love kept hot air balloons from sinking.)

I felt heavy, weighted-down.

Love keeps you tethered.

Why did no one (no one, no one, no one) tell me love reminds you of the

darkest parts of yourself that you don’t want others to know?

I should have asked more questions. That, or I should have run.

I have been told I have a heart of tin –

but is it aluminum or tin that crushes so easily?

I keep my shoelaces knotted. I don’t stoop for anyone.

I do not fall in love.

Love is like the Autobahn – no speed limit, no reverse.

Throw yourself into gear and regrets are brick walls hiding in plain sight.

The results are shattered windshields,

a leaking manifest gasket,

smoldering fires,

crumpled metal,

& stained leather.

You were lucky if you live.

You were luckier if you didn’t.


He told me this story one night, and I noticed the sadness in his eyes. For ten years, I tried to patch broken glass and tamp down the pained flames. I tried to heal the broken heart of tin, but inevitably it was a bigger job than I could tackle and he reminded me he does not fall in love.

Months later, he was engaged to be married.

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