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He shows me how
he wants to be loved
by loving me

not with questions
or demands
diluting his personal
expectations within my
fluid willingness
to receive him,
a love so deep he
receives everything he gives

trusting in my heart and
its capacity to learn
to love by example,
coaxing my commitment
by his consistency

his thoughtful actions
and attention fall in
divine plaits and folds
around my daily movement,
timed to my needs
with room to breathe and
be free. I am bound
to his side, not with
proverbial handcuffs or
Twenty Questions, but
with the way that the
tensions of his life as a man
melt willingly upon contact
with my skin.

He projects his needs’
fulfillment onto me,
touches me a certain way
in gentle possession, like
a cupped hand sheltering
a flame from the biting wind,
then tells me how good
it feels to him, as if
he borrowed my heart and
were living vicariously
through me.

He taught me how
to understand beauty
by calling me beautiful.

I recognize the promises
he never promised out loud
because he keeps them.

My heart has no maps and
no choice but
to instinctively move
through the path of
a sweet secondhand memory;
and can’t remember how or why
or when it even started
knowing how
to love him so well

but whenever I’d look at him,
he would read in my eyes
exactly how well he has
taken care of me,
then turn right around and
thank me
for making him happy.

untitled photo by photographer Igor Pavloff