The Way Love Expires


I always spoil it with poetry, the way I spoil milk
by setting it out in the open, shining too hot a light
on its sweetness and speeding up its degradation.

It started when I got to thinking
about that first night: you raised your arm
to form a nook where mine could rest,
whispered against my lips, Don’t worry,
you’re safe. In darkness I thought about safety,

how in that moment I wanted to be the safe
that holds your secrets close.
But really, I wanted you
to hold me as a secret
that hurt you not to tell.

Better, I think, to know
the nuance of sweetness
than to tuck it in a cool dark place,
let it expire slowly,
in secret.




Photo “milk” by bazzadarambler used under Creative Commons License (BY-2.0)


About Author

Jenny Qi is a writer, scientist and co-founder of the storytelling podcast Bone Lab Radio. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Huffington Post. Her poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies, including Rattle, Off the Coast, and Spry, and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is currently based in San Francisco.

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