How to Live a Love Letter
Steam apples with cinnamon on the stove.
He will either think you are having an open house
or make love to you right there in the kitchen.
It will be hot and awkward – the slate floor
and drawer-pulls are not as soft as a bed,
but much closer to the scent of Thanksgiving
Sleep in his nightshirt. Tuck the front of it
between your legs part of the night. He will
smell himself on you tonight as he drifts to sleep,
your arm hugging a circle around his chest.
Tomorrow night he will wear you on his body.
He will recognize you when he pulls it over
his head. If he throws the shirt in the laundry
on day three, sleep in your own clothes
from then on.
Drop crumbs of your heart as you walk through
your day. He will either sweep them up
or follow them, collecting them as he goes
so no one else can follow them. You will
find him standing in front of you, puzzling
the crumbs into the shape of your absent
part, offering them back with open palms.
Paint a watercolor of yellow tulips,
a Provencal cloth, lemongrass
scattered about the canvas, a mug
of Earl Grey in the corner
and his hands. Hang it on your side
of the bed. If he does not know
his hands he’ll mistake this
for a collage born of homesickness
for Giverny and all things French.
Otherwise he’ll know you always
want him near you, and sight
is sense just like touch.
Start cooking. Make beef stroganoff
and lasagna with white sauce. Make shrimp
any way except curry. Shortbread
for dessert with strawberry ice cream
even though you like chocolate. He will
either think you are saving money
for something he forgot, or know
he is adored and well taken care of.
If he eats with furrowed brow, for a fact
it is the former. If he opens a nice wine
and holds your other hand while you toast
and sip, he knows he’s the one.
Tobi Cogswell is a two-time Pushcart nominee. Credits include or are forthcoming in Illya’s Honey, REAL, Iodine Poetry Journal, Slipstream, StepAway (UK), Turbulence (UK), Front Porch Review, Rufous Salon (Sweden), Alligator Stew (UK), Ballard Street Poetry Journal, Bacopa, Compass Rose, The Broken Plate, Border Crossing, I-70 Review, Incandescent (UK), Agenda Poetry (UK) and Pale House – Letters to Los Angeles. Her latest chapbook is “Surface Effects in Winter Wind”, (Kindred Spirit Press). She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.sprreview.com).