If You Love Me, You Love Everything About Me

By Morrow Dowdle

But that’s unrealistic, isn’t it? I recognize your limit 
when you flirt openly at Whole Foods with the wearer 
of an orange paisley dress and espadrilles.  
That afternoon, we kneel on our bed the way we did 

when we agreed to marry, when our daughter kept us up 
at three a.m. You say you’re trying, but you can’t pretend.
You say I resemble a geriatric gardener in my bunched shirt 
and elastic waist. You say you miss the woman in the room.  

Irrelevant to explain they don’t make clothes for men 
this small. This, you know. You are thirsty for anima
which I can’t replace. Strange, to have changed 
from cock’s muse to what makes it wilt.  

The bed now a question of salvation. If I ever thought of sex 
as shallow instinct, I know now that everything can hinge on it.  
I’ve been replacing me with me, and you’re trying
to keep up. I don’t get to pretend it’s none of your business.  

Here is the melting point of love—a synonym for courage, 
really. The risks incurred in this treaty. You consent to be 
what you become when you love this particular me.  
Love has no border only when you walk across it.  

And you do—despite every trepidation. This compulsion 
I still elicit. And then, months later, you gift me boxers,
not shying from my man when our pants come off— 
which, somehow, stubbornly, they do, again. 


Morrow Dowdle has poetry published in or forthcoming from New York Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, The Baltimore Review, and Poetry South, among others.  They have been nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net.  They edit poetry for Sunspot Literary Journal and host “Weave & Spin,” a performance series featuring marginalized voices.  A former physician assistant, they now volunteer as a writing teacher for inmates and advocate for U.S. prison reform.  They live in Hillsborough, NC.

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