Bio Note: For this month where love is celebrated, I had been reflecting on the philosophy of Daoism, whereby absence or nothingness is seen as generative. I thought of how that might apply to the idea of unrequited love offering many creative gifts. I have published three chapbooks and am English Language Editor for Poetry Hall: A Chinese and English Bilingual Journal.
The Dao of Unrequited Love
Unrequited love is an indigo bunting, those black birds of spring, each with a scrap of sky fastened to its wings. At Lincoln Junior High School, I followed a boy around the outdoor track, smelled roses when crab apple petals stormed the third leg of the mile. I was lost and adrift in wild bliss until the thunk of his foot catching a high hurtle tasted like sawdust in my mouth. When Ty was placed in my group in English class I synced my stride with his and pretended to be Walter Mitty’s wife for laughs. Ty knew I was a spaz-in-love even before he dared me to slice his finger in the jaws of the art room paper cutter. My blade- mouth whistled The Ride of the Valkyries, spattering red jeweled drops all over love-city. But Ty said It’s ok, be cool as he held his hand-mirror to my face and I saw geraniums wilt and shrink blood-dark in fall. I’ll pick up some charcoal and draw my self-portrait for the next forty years—toothed ice caves, crisp violets, and razor-blue wings. Even Shiva at the piano. To my Love I say Je ne suis rien sans toi by which I mean the nothing of your love made me something, became a habit, never stale. An absent love inspires blizzards of poems and the blue sky to adorn spring’s black-winged birds.
©2021 Sylvia Cavanaugh
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