“Love Poem” by Heather Bell

Heather Bell


When I think of you
I think of the Cassowary, known to
kill humans with blows from its dagger-like
feet. A bird, but a bird that chooses
to say no instead of run away. And at night
while you sleep you press your leg
to my leg, no matter how far I move away,

moving because of your heat,
my terror. The only thing that frightens me is

your absence, you going away,
instead of pinning me down
and saying no no.

This is the poem where I admit I love you,
am in love with your dangerous hands
at my neck, your scent of

wild and cigars and the moment from anger
to not. I love you as you sleep
delicate snores. I love you as you
drink black coffee and I want to touch you
but always am too frightened. I love you
as you sit outside smoking
and the sky looks like
it is touching you, the cloth of it,
a delicate towel. But the thing about
dangerous birds is that they protect their own.
I press my foot to yours while you sleep and you
sigh as though
you had been waiting for it.

from Rattle #61, Fall 2018


Heather Bell: “It’s a funny thing watching a decade long marriage fall apart. We all do what we can. We find comfort where we can. These poems are for Dan, thanks for holding your arms out when I was barreling toward the sun. Love poems were impossible until I met you.” (web)

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