Pushcart Nomination

I worry that I’ve never written a love poem. I came close, once or twice, but I’m too shrill. “You’re a wanker, Number 9.” doesn’t sound right on my tongue or my fingertips.

I worry that my grand moment will never come. No boombox in the rain or holiday meet-cute in my hometown. Heath Ledger still isn’t singing in my football stadium.

A playing card deck with categorized suits—hearts is what I love about you—is the closest I’ve come to Seth Cohen standing on a table in front of the kissing booth, professing his love.

Instead, love is something I found in the in-betweens. If you look closely, it’s there in the moments when the sparks fizzle and struggle to take flight. Even on the nights when touch feels like lightning, if you roll out of bed too quickly, you’ll miss it in the way she squeezes your arm in her sleep.

I’d been waiting for extraordinary, but love is shockingly, reliably ordinary. Less a flood of passion I can’t satisfy or sedate, and more empanadas delivered at midnight.

Love has its own language—this I know for sure. Shakespeare and the Brontës raised me right. I didn’t learn its nuances in a handwritten letter or sky-written promises. I earned fluency with pitched up tones behind closed doors and a new dictionary for two.

It wasn’t waiting in any of the 790km I flew to her. Or on any of the weekly petals that made her neighbours jealous. I found it in four Dunkin’ Iced Americanos delivered before my big meeting and the Tumblr pose she indulges me every season.

Love isn’t a grand moment. It’s a fine thread that weaves its way into the fabric of your life… until you’re so entangled in it, until it’s so familiar you don’t notice it has worked its way into every word.

It’s not a Pushcart, starving for applause. It’s a Notes app entry written with tired eyes. And perhaps you’d have seen it sooner, if only you had been paying attention.