Today's prompt was to write a love poem or an anti-love poem.
I don't like the prefix "anti-." Call me naive, but I'm no cynic when it comes to love. I've been lucky. And while happy families are not all the same, I do find it hard to write love poems about my beloved husband.
So I make up lovers. Sometimes, as with this poem, I take a person or circumstance or story from life and then pull it away from reality into, I hope, some other sort of truth.
This is neither love nor anti-love.
Ode to the Guy from Drafting on Whom I Had a Fruitless Crush in 1982
We never got closer
than the cafeteria table
where you held court.
If you were in the Major Arcana
you’d be the King of Oranges:
orb in one hand, pocket folding scepter
in the other. “Navel gazing,”
you’d deadpan--you are the King
of Deadpan--that empty dish
beside your throne
filling with fragrant layers. You count
our years in circles of pulp and zest.
You absorb the citric acid
and spill it in riddles, which I imagine
are your valentines. Passing
in the corridor, you mutter,
What’s bright, has a round end,
and lasts forever? And as you leave,
not waiting for an answer,
I watch your Dockers and think: You.