Grown-Up Love

I’ve known kiddie love
and child’s play
let boys chase me across playgrounds
and around aging pine trees–
leaving my heart wide open
putting my love on display
like it has always been free to give away
waiting for it to catch someone’s eye
and draw him into my arms.

I’ve known adolescent pangs
of wanting what I will never have
but still wishing it could be possible
if not probable
for him to want me back.

And puppy love,
the kind you find hidden
behind all that sparkles and shines.
Eager to please
and so energetic that it rarely ever lasts
beyond that afternoon nap
after a walk in the autumn air.

Then there is
the almost love
you can’t quite feel it,
or you refuse to say it,
or there’s always something
keeping you away from it
and there’s never quite enough of it.

And it’s always a bit too hard
to keep your grasp
on reality
while the familiar feeling of falling
sends you through countless rabbit holes
into the territory of your imagination

The mad hatter
as crazy as he is,
can see only you for such a time
and then forget about you
right in the middle of afternoon tea.

I have raged between
serenity and madness
all my life
balancing on the edge of love
waiting for someone to tip the scale
of mindless wanting

because I thought that I knew what I wanted
I thought this grocery list I concocted in my head
of all the things I needed
would be a recipe for happiness
and love would finally taste right when it touched my lips,
my tongue…

I thought an easy bake oven would suffice
It had to be that simple, right?
I followed the directions
I confessed to how it feels
to be wrapped up in patient curiosity
and loving you all my life
dropping in all the parts of you and I
that would mix together
and the heat would fuse our hearts together
in a perfect blend
of sugar and spice

But I kept it in too long
or not long enough
a simple mistake when you think about it.

And since then…
since we set the smoke detector off
and ruined our appetites for each other

There still lingers a bitter taste
and all the grown up love
I thought I had made
was only crumbs of
who I thought you wanted me to be.

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