“Love, with Trees and Lightning” by Catie Rosemurgy.

I’ve been thinking about what love is for.
Not the obvious part where he gathers
until he is as purposeful inside her
as an electrical storm, not when he breaks
into a thanks so bright it leaves her
split like a tree. (We all jolt back,
our picnic ten shades lighter, our hands
clapped over awe that’s too big for our mouths.)

But the two of them, afterwards,
tasting the electricity, nibbling
the charge on the ions. When her pulse
has already risked coming to meet him
at the window of her skin. When what is left
of his body still feels huge, and he sits draped
in his fine, long coat of animal muscles
but uses all his strength to be almost imperceptible.
They curl up, make their bodies the same size,
draw promises in one another’s juices.
“You,” they say. I love it when they say that.

Would that they could give a solid reason.
Sometimes they even refuse to try.
They make jokes while cinching their laces.
“I’ll call soon,” he says. “You’re so sweet,”
she says, but the rank sugar of his breath
doesn’t summarize the world for her.
“Not you,” they say.

And nothing bad has happened.
They just turn the doorknob that has been
shining in their hands the whole time, walk out,
and continue to die. Same as the rest of us.
So maybe love is a form of crying. Or maybe
it’s our way of finishing what the leaves have started
and turning a brilliant color before we hit the ground.
Name one living thing that doesn’t somehow bloom.
None of them get to choose the right conditions.
Think of chemical fires or ghost orchids.

Maybe one body is simply insufficient.
So they change their minds and decide
to stand by one another’s side for years.
They bring flowers and carpet and children
into the act. They refuse to move, ever.
They act as if they’ve found the only hospitable
spot on earth. I love it when they do that.