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 the author of 70 books of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. His stories have won or been shortlisted for numerous national and international prizes including this year's Lynn Fraser Fiction Prize from Freefall, the Fish Fiction Prize (IRE), the Bath Short Story Prize, the Carter V. Cooper Prize for Fiction, and a special Editor's commendation from the Edinburgh Flash Fiction Prize, His most recent collections of fiction are "Toast Soldiers" (Crowsnest Books), "Down in the Ground" (Guernica Editions) and the forthcoming collection of flash fiction, "Sweet Things" (Mosaic Press), and a collection of longer stories, "Magnetic Dogs" (Guernica). With Michael Mirolla, he co-edited the forthcoming anthology, "This Will Only Take a Minute" (Guernica) which is the first Canadian anthology of flash fiction. He lives in Barrie, Ontario, and is Professor of Communications at Georgian College.