What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

What we talk about when there is too
much to say and so little life to say it,

or imagine we are playing our hands
down to the last card and are beaten 

by our desires to win? Everything about love
is defined as a game of chance. A prayer,

no matter what the answer holds, keeps
truth alive long enough to understand

there is more to love than merely living,
and trees and oceans are celebrated

not for what they say but what remains
unspoken during the final hours of sleep.

Or when a man takes a woman’s hand
the gesture means so little the birds-like

nesting in her palms spread their wings
and fly away as frightened animals.

Everyone carries their own catalog
of passions, and some plant the seedlings

wherever they go to populate the world,
with forests and green hills and oceans

that grow calm after the lovelessness,
of a night when dreaming is holding on,

signing its name on a beach’s tideline
to form a covenant with the world,

the contract on which lovers and loveless
agree to praise creation in a heartbeat.

Bruce Meyer

Bruce Meyer is author or editor of 64 books of poetry, short fiction, flash fiction, non-fiction, and literary journalism. He is the 2019 winner of the Anton Chekhov Prize for Flash Fiction, the Freefall Prize for Poetry, and was a finalist in the Tom Gallon Trust Fiction Prize and the Bath Short Story Prize. His most recent books are McLuhan's Canary (Guernica Editions) and Pressing Matters: The Story of Black Moss Press (Black Moss Press). Both will appear in October. His previous books include The First Taste: New and Selected Poems (Black Moss Press, 2018) and the short story collection, A Feast of Brief Hopes (Guernica Editions, 2018). A book of essays about his works will appear in 2020 along with a collection of flash fiction, Down in the Ground (both from Guernica Editions). He lives in Barrie, Ontario.