This state

is splintered, skidding, breathless, but struggling to sound calm,
it’s soy beans on the door mat; on the baseboard, raspberry jam,
it’s eating scraps of food after they have been chewed thoughtfully
then disgorged into your outstretched hand, his saliva your saliva,
it’s him reaching for your face in the dark and sinking back relieved,
it’s that first, longed-for kiss, slow and premeditated, laying aside
his things and walking up and kissing you full on the lips with his
tiny, soft, wet mouth, complete surprise, total abandon,
it’s thinking your mind will never have sharp edges or straight lines
again; it’s being beaten and kicked by a screaming, back-bending,
contortionist, hair-pulling dervish who later subsides into swollen-
eyed, red-faced, runny-nosed calm in your arms,
it’s the sink full of dishes, plastic cups, bibs, tea-leaves, peach-peel,
pasta shells and peas; it’s ketchup at every meal and wondering
how a body can survive on no meat or vegetables, ever,
it’s the way his body curves into yours and how your arms
are strong enough to lift all twenty-six pounds of him
over and over again at all the wrong angles,
it’s shocking awake each time he murmurs in his sleep next door,
it’s the pain in your chest and belly when you’re apart,
it’s seeing your life upended, its contents strewn around by a
tornado, and picking your way through the wreckage with no time
to care because something like passion is driving you on.

-Catherine Jagoe
Published in Rattle, Issue No. 21, Volume 10, No. 1, Summer, 2004