Evolution of Love

 

In the beginning
love was a single
perfect apple.
One bite promised to satisfy
the years of desire
that lay ahead—
and there was no one else
to startle you with their intellect
or give meaning
to the word temptation—
but when time blunted
the sharp edge
of your lovers charm
you saw that there were
others with a kind of beauty
you hadn’t noticed before—
and you began to wonder
if the fascination felt for you
might be waning too—
if curiosity and a desire to explore
might be the reason
your lover never feels
fully present
when they’re beside you.
And so for decades you worry
that you’re not enough
for each other
until one day
a confession comes out
slowly like a snake
descending carefully
from the highest
most precarious branch.
There was another fruit
from a forbidden tree
that had long ago been tasted—
and when you hear this
it isn’t jealousy that burns you,
but a regret that you hadn’t
given in to the equal cravings
you denied yourself—
that you hadn’t taken
your own reckless bite
when you had the chance.
But by now, you are fully clothed
in a kind of love
that can’t be shaken off
or diminished
by such trivialities.
You smile as you imagine
how exciting such a trespass
must have been in the 20th century—
but here in the 21st century
there are microwaves
that can offer you buttered
popcorn in minutes
and you want nothing more
than to be entertained
for the rest of the evening
with an account of
exactly what happened.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
9-18-16

 

 

 

Ghost

It’s you again
keeping me awake
keeping me from sleep—
that place I no longer dream of you.
It’s not that I’m annoyed— no.
I’m never bothered by your visits
or the way you distract me
or interrupt my task.
What worries me is the way
you dissolve over time—
the way you leave me
alone more often now.
I have loved to be lost
in the comfort of your memory
but I fear one day
I will forget to remember you.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
9-12-16

Those Avocados

The new neighbors
who we didn’t know well, but didn’t like,
were going on a mission trip
so they knocked on our red door
and offered us three black avocados
and two ripe tomatoes
because, God bless us,
they didn’t want them to go to waste.

We were newly married then
and I had never tasted an avocado
or been in the same room with one.
My Indiana upbringing was void
of anything exotic or unknown—
and because my father had no appetite
for exploration, my mother,
(whose appetite for adventure was never satisfied)
filled our dinner table
with banal predictable flavors.

Those avocados did not enjoy salvation,
as our neighbors prayed they would.
It would be another ten years
before I’d have my first taste.
Dinner at a friend’s house—
burritos and sliced avocado.
I think about them sometimes—
those three wasted avocados—
how a sprinkling of salt and a spoon
would have changes our lives sooner
and for the better.

Eventually they moved away, our neighbors,
to start a new church up north.
We never liked them,
but had we known they’d given us
a fruit from heaven
we might have forgiven them
for the way everything they did
was in the name of god.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
9-2-16