YOUR WRITING IS PRETTY
Your writing is pretty he says. He doesn’t understand the images in my poems, but he doesn’t want anyone to know. It’s embarrassing he says. I used to write about his skin, his eyes, his heart that surges with kindness. He cooks for me: chicken, burgers. A limited repertoire. He sings in the kitchen while he washes the dishes wearing XXL baby blue gloves. All you need is love. He’s mad about me, and my heart, which has always been cool —warms under the flamethrower of his adoration. I used to write: Your fingertips leave a trail of love down my body. Now I wear sweatpants to lie next to him in bed. He shows his sentimental underbelly to me. Others may only see that stern exterior, and think he is angry, or just a jerk. Maybe he is sometimes, but that’s not what I see when he allows that mask to slip. Did the words I’m so in love with you ever cartwheel in my head? They must have. When he proposed, I cried. Not with happiness, because I said – maybe? That’s not what he was expecting that night on the beach. I still feel bad about that. Sometimes when he’s sleeping, I’ll slide next to him, letting my mask slip, letting his warmth soften me. I run my finger down his back, and think my fingertips leave a trail of love down your body.
Renee Gilmore was born in California and raised in the Midwest. She identifies as a person with a disability. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, and her master’s degree from Hamline University. Her work has appeared in The Raven Review and Peauxdunque Review. She has traveled to all seven continents, and lives in suburban Minneapolis with her husband Steven.