I’m slowly beginning to learn
love is more than fireworks,
blushing pinks and chemical reactions.
It is more than marriage vows,
tea in the morning and collecting
flowers to tuck behind your ear.
It is more than wrinkled hands
in our nineties, gifts of paper and gold.
It stains like pollen on white,
sticks like tree sap or napalm,
and it haunts hallways and rooms
like a long lost relative.
It leaves only on its own terms
even after it has
crumbled to ash and been reborn
as hurt, grief and loss
masquerading as ghosts
from your past, present
to interrupt your sleep
and lullaby thoughts;
to teach you a lesson
of vivid nightmares
and the inability to forget.
Photograph & poem: © Kristiana Reed 2019