“Love Poem” by Chrys Tobey

Chrys Tobey


My imaginary love and I have been together fifteen or sixteen years. 
We bought a house and we like to plant orange poppies and dance 

to George Michael with our dog, but we don’t have imaginary children. 
Each evening, he wraps his arm around my waist in bed and says, 

Do you feel full? I often don’t know whether he is referring to dinner or our life, 
but I say yes. I love the way my imaginary love traces his finger down 

my spine, which reminds me of my mother’s tickle backs, and I covet 
the spinach that gets stuck in his crooked front tooth. Sometimes my imaginary love 

and I laugh so hard, we fall to the floor. Sometimes I say, I am afraid and he responds, 
It will be okay. Sometimes he speaks with a New Jersey accent even though he is from 

Los Angeles. My imaginary love understands why I check the stove several times
before I leave the house, why I do the same with locks, why I sometimes threaten 

to leave. I’m pretty sure my imaginary love and I still imagine one another 
when we have sex. And even when we masturbate. My imaginary love reads Second Sex 

while I nap, as he rides his stationary bike. Unfortunately, I usually wake up 
to his ukulele. When my imaginary love is at work, he sends me the sweetest pictures of his 

penis. My imaginary love is trying to pay off my student loans. And then we 
are going to take a trip to Fiji and maybe Belize. My imaginary love cries 

when I tell him about my father. He makes lattes every morning before I get 
out of bed, and he often tells me about the time he started walking in a crowded crosswalk 

and farted. I think I am going to dedicate a book of poems to you, my imaginary love. 
At night, I nuzzle my head into your armpit and we sleep so sound, I think I am dead.

from Rattle #74, Winter 2021


Chrys Tobey: “I write poetry because it makes me feel less alone.” (web)

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