Valentine for Zephyr, Age 12
From The Spirits Need to Eat
The night before valentines are due,
I take you to the movie about Vincent
whose paintings you love. Too late
I realize it’s a mistake. You knew about his ear
and you know the definition of prostitute,
but neither one of us was ready
to see him cut himself until he bled,
see him in the brothel
with his rotten teeth and his real women.
On the way home in the starry night we hold hands,
wonder what his parents must have been like,
what cruelty may have happened to him,
and you show me the belt of Orion,
clean and shining and always in place.
Remember this forever, then:
I cannot imagine not loving you,
even when this body is gone.
So if I ever die, look up into the dark
and find me hundreds of times there,
each place you can faintly imagine a line
tracing the shape of a valentine.