The Love Poem

By Marcia LeBeau

When he read it out loud in the small orange basement
on the street lined with old trees that fell
too early in storms, the wind lost its breath,
the molten core of the earth slowed slightly, and someone
poured a Slurpee down at the 7-Eleven. It might have been
just a poem meant for the whole group, who all playfully
fanned themselves and over-swooned after he’d lipped the last word—
but she sat knowing that everything she’d done
had brought her to this beige suede basement couch
to hear, to embody, to take these words
and press them into her—first shaking, but later softly
and with more force. Until they walked, ran, and flew
with her. So when she rose above that suburban town,
its baseball fields and slate-gray schools, on the days
when the screaming and demands and the mac-n-cheese dinners
became too much, they would be with her. He would be with her,
whether she wanted him or not.

Marcia LeBeau’s poems have been published in Rattle, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hiram Poetry Review, SLANT, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Her chapbook, The Book of Bob, was shortlisted for the 2019 Wallace Award. LeBeau, who holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, is an artist-in-residence in the schools and plays viola in her local symphony. She is the founder of The Write Space, a collaboration space for creative writer, in Orange, New Jersey.

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