XX

I do not abide that one
completes another;
for you are whole
                            in yourself,
as I am whole
                            in myself.

Even so, were I buried
a thousand years
deep in the limestone hills,
and you called out
my secret name,
                            I would rise to meet you.

My love, the wonder and the joy is this:
I fly higher when I fly
                            with you,
and our fires burn hotter when they burn
                            together.

©stephanie pepper, 2021


XIX

For Brian, on the occasion of being married for nineteen years. I love you best, mon coeur.

I do not pluck the petals
from a daisy to know,
for what can a wildflower
tell me of love?

Oh, tender flower…

Can your petals tell me more than his hand in the dark,
drawing the lines of my face?
More than his mouth pressed to my skin
where the blackbird flies from my shoulder?

Can you tell me the answer
when my eyes ask the question,
“do you love me?”
Oh! How could you know?

You bloom in the sun for only a season;
stand in the rain from summer ‘til frost.
But the sun has arisen to shine on this love
all these days–six thousand nine hundred thirty-nine.

And what a storm brings to bear with the
fiercest of winds that could flatten your golden field,
leaves this love rising strong from the soil of the
earth, rooted deep in the ground.

No, you can’t know,
precious flower, what
only he knows as he
cradles my heart in his hands.

So at the day’s end, sweet little daisy,
hold onto your petals so tight.
For somewhere there’s a girl who simply must ask
“does he love me?” and only you know.

But for me, there’s no doubt, no
question you can answer.
My eyes, they ask;
his hold what I know…

…he loves me…
…he loves me…

…he loves me

©️stephanie pepper, 2020