Love, Me by Danielle Stonehirsch

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Do you love me? she asks while she washes dishes.
There is soap in her bangs, the sponge is fraying, the water splashes my fingers
as I dry the glasses.
You are ridiculous, I say
as I twist the towel
in out around done.

Do you love me? she asks while we look
at hats in the little boutique in town.
Red or black
feather or flower?
I poke a brim, twirl it, and I say
I love ice cream. Let’s find some.

Do you love me? she asks on the bus.
She has shouted and I know people have heard. 
There is a child against my hip
a woman against my shoulder.
They must wonder who we are.
You are my best friend, I say.

Do you love me? she asks while we study
in the park. The sun is hot
only on the left side of my body
and I tell her I am concentrating
on twisting verbs, prepositions, indirect pronouns.

Do you love me? she asks
and when I don’t answer she laughs and says,
That’s all right, I love you.
And this time I want to say it back
but the words catch 
in my teeth and she turns
and is gone.

Image: Soap bubble among trees under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license by Hyunsu Kim.

White woman with dark brown hair

Danielle Stonehirsch lives in Maryland and works for Health Volunteers Overseas, a non-profit focused on global health. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in several places including on the Tin House website and in Bethesda Magazine, Washington City Paper, Montgomery Magazine as well as in anthologies This Is What America Looks Like and Roar: True Tales of Women Warriors. She hopes to publish her first novel soon.

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