Sara Blake
Love. Have you seen him?
Poem

I feel heartbroken.
But don’t you need love first
for a heart to break?
Is love some shellac that
must be painted in thick strokes,
hardened to a sheen, ripened to a patina
to look like time and something shared?
You need only as much
as the back of a spoon,
and a tiny tap at just the right
spot to crack it wide open.

But what then if you
have none of that?
Not time. Nothing shared.
Just some tragedy of possibility.
A lamentation for a love imagined,
for someone real and raw,
and who reminds me to see
those things in myself too.

Is that what I mourn?
Is he some portal to seeing myself
the way I want to be seen?
Courage to let the ugly
parts that hurt show?

But I’m up at night with some
notion that we squandered truth.
How often do we find truth
in human form?
Truth is so big.
Truth fills up the whole room.
And it will stink
before it’s sweet.
But when it finally
turns and turns again,
you’ll understand why
you can never
palette anything else.

I chide myself that I even
let it hurt.
I only know the idea of him.
But ideas—aren’t they
everything?
Aren’t they impressionism
and quantum gravity?
Stoicism and the zodiac?
Isn’t love just another
name we give
that thing we all suspect,
but no one can touch
or measure?

And love is more common
than you think.
Love is no Bigfoot.
Love is not mere lore
that a meager few
will swear by their
ancestors that they’ve
encountered, maybe even
corroborate in blurry
creased photos
procured from wallets
as proof.

Love is not so shy.
Love is no beast.
Love has his arm draped around
the flower vendor only
just downstairs,
and he’ll drape his arm
around you too,
you just have to notice him.
And if you have to stop
to ask yourself,
“Was that love?”
the answer is, “yes.”