When Love Arrives by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye (Poem#18)

When Love Arrives

by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye
I knew exactly what love looked like…
In seventh grade

Even though I hadn’t met love yet
If love had wandered into my homeroom
I would have recognized him at first glance
Love wore a hemp necklace

I would have recognized her at first glance
Love wore a tight French braid

Love played acoustic guitar
And knew all my favorite Beatles songs
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me
And I knew
I just must be checking the wrong classroom

Just must be searching the wrong hallways
She was there, I was sure of it

If only I could find him
But when love finally showed up

She had a bowl cut
He wore the same clothes every day for a week

Love hated the bus
Love didn’t know anything about the Beatles

Instead
Every time I tried to kiss love
Our teeth got in the way

Love became the reason I lied to my parents
“I’m going to… Ben’s house”

Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor
But made sure we never missed a slow song

Love waited by the phone because she knew if her father picked up it would be

“Hello ?” (*Heavy breathing*)
“Hello ?” (*Heavy breathing*)
“I guess they hung up”

And love grew

Love … Stretched like a trampoline

Love changed

Love disappeared… slowly
Like baby teeth, losing parts of me I thought I needed

Love vanished like an amateur magician
Everyone could see the trapdoor but me

Like a flat tire
There were other places I had planned on going

But my plans didn’t matter

Love stayed away for years
And when love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him
Love smelled different now, had darker eyes
A broader back
Love came with freckles I didn’t recognize
New birthmarks, a softer voice
Now there were new sleeping patterns
New favorite books
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else
Songs love didn’t like to listen to

So did I…

But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly
We found jokes that make us laugh
And now love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies
But love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack

Loves looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator
Love knows where she’s going
It just might take her two hours longer than she planned

Love is messier now
Not as simple

Love uses the word “boobs” in front of my parents
Love chews too loudly
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste
Love uses smiley faces in her text messages
And turns out

Love shits!

But love also cries
And love will tell you, “You are beautiful”

And mean it

Over and over again (“You are beautiful”)
When you first wake up- (“You are beautiful”)
When you’ve just been crying- (“You are beautiful”)
When you don’t wanna hear it- (“You are beautiful”)
When you don’t believe it- (“You are beautiful”)
When nobody else will tell you, (“You are beautiful”)
Love still thinks… (“…”)

You are beautiful

But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget
When you need to hear it most

You are beautiful

Do not forget this

Love is not who you were expecting
Love is not what you can predict

Maybe love is in New York City already asleep
You are in California, India, Australia, wide awake
Maybe love is always in the wrong timezone

Maybe love is not ready for you
Maybe you are not ready for love

Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type

Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce
Love looks older now, but just as beautiful as you remember

Maybe love is only there for one month
Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit
Maybe love stays
Maybe love can’t
Maybe love shouldn’t…

Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to
And love leaves exactly when love must
When love arrives say,
“Welcome, make yourself comfortable”

If love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her
Turn off the music, listen to the quiet
Whisper,
“Thank you for stopping by”

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2 thoughts on “When Love Arrives by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye (Poem#18)

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