Art

Valentine’s Day – Esther Manov

Some people, someone said, enjoy things:
Like when the steering wheel’s too hot 
And they rub their hands across it, fluttery,
Like down a lady’s spine. Or when the peanut butter’s

Buy-one-get-one; and TV actors don’t seem 
Like they’re trying to steal their credit card numbers.
They don’t break up to avoid vacations; it seems nice,
One Hundred Twenty Hours to fuck and lather

Little jasmine octagons, and choose lakes from brochures.
If I could pass a personality test I’d like chocolate-covered
Strawberries, and the $7.99 rose petals at the mini-mart,
In a clamshell for trail mix. I think weddings are cliched, 

But getting married isn’t. The past feels less real than the future
And worse than the future than the present. It saddens me
To set a timer for tea, or to measure 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
For the pan: it sets your hopes too high, and then the same thing

Goes for love—it’s better to disappoint without a plan. I may
Have bought a ticket from my soulmate, or handed him
A brochure. The saddest day of my life may have occurred in 1999,
Or next year. I’m not as beautiful as I once was or will be.

I miss how green it was when I was twenty, like emeralds on the windows,
Where the yarny trees gave me hives, and the springs I went to once
With a plastic tube, they were called blue but they were green. 
You passed a lot of boiled peanuts on the way. You told me:

If you don’t know that I love you, you don’t know
Anything about anything, I don’t, I’ve forgotten
Statistics and the three Portuguese subjunctives, 
And if I’ve had fun with you or anyone. I like when saltwater

Dries on my knee and leaves a little cube of white.
I can’t tell if I’ve made a mistake and have to die and live
Again to know. I always thought I was pregnant
When I was nineteen, and now I don’t think anything.