love

"All songs are about how much of someone we can take into ourselves until we both become dust."
Hanif Abdurraqib


so I sneak in
and sit on the toilet with a Hogwarts-
themed coffee cup. I curl my legs
beneath me and ingest the parts
of him that taste like his citrus-cedar
scented 3-in-1 shampoo/ conditioner/ bodywash.
He plans his day out in the steam,
gotta do this/ this/ this
he mutters, and the echo of the water
matches the incantations of his voice and I gulp
it down and swallow his spells.
It tastes like Felix Felicis—liquid luck.
I decide that tonight, instead of drawing
a bath of bergamot and grapefruit, I will
squeeze the bottle of 3 - in - 1 into our townhouse
bathtub because I want the bends of my bones
to smell like his store-bought magic.

—Sadie Shuck Hinkel,
My Husband Talks To Himself in The Shower



"Tell me that joy is sustainable, some fragrant signal,

that if I plucked the fruit from another

still life it would not be rotten.”

— Rachel Cruea,
Self-Portrait of My Throat as a Vase


There is a certain shapelessness to love, the way it sneaks and seeps and slips, towards and away from us. In her poem, Sadie wants to pour the entirety of her husband's citrus-cedar scented 3-in-1 shampoo/ conditioner/ body wash into her bathtub, because she wants the bends of her bones to smell like his store-bought magic.

How do we come to needing people so much we can't turn away from them? What makes us delve and settle into people and their touch, smell, habits? We build, per cliche, entire homes inside of them, homes we can't stand to have empty. It amazes me how people find a way to make magic when the house truly is empty for the foreseeable future, and the lights run low, and the love runs out.

I spent all my time being in love- terrified at the possibility of being utterly destroyed by it; not just the imminent destruction but the overwhelm of it. It isn't a thing of imagination, it has happened to me, and around me, it has populated an entire generation's cinema and diary entries. It has sent me over the moon and brought me to my knees.

These days, love doesn't live under my skin, it doesn’t fall into any particular set of hands. It's like Anis's poem reckoning with the sun, the outdoor seating, his strawberries, and cereal. The intimacy he receives is the world working with ease; a sustainable joy that Rachel, in her poem, plucks from another still life; an ever-present coffer of poetry by people in love, that I revel in every night.

xx,

Srish