Wednesday, February 14, 2018

measure



At the Cairo Hospital...looking at my true love.

February is a month when couples measure their love by romance:
“He took me to a waterfront restaurant and serenaded me with violins;
presented me with a two-carat diamond; long stemmed roses,
got down on one knee when he proposed. 
We went home and made love in front of a roaring fire; afterward he rubbed my feet.” 

Measures of love that are compared—their spurred talons and greased feathers glittering.

My love resists comparison. 

He stopped taking me to waterfront restaurants after a messy incident when I ordered lobster at market price; and I hope he will never buy me a diamond.  Not after what we’ve seen.
He prefers rosebushes over long-stemmed and his idea of a roaring fire is at the end of a good cigar, but he puts the seat down and replaces light bulbs.

His serenade has stronger arms. 

He once supported my weight as I tried to act normal, walking up a flight of stairs in Cairo
—uneven stone steps that were littered with small candy wrappers and beggars, too afraid to hold out
their wrinkled hands, thinking I might be cursed.  

They stared at me, with frightened expressions that made me believe I was going to die.

 That day, I couldn’t walk by myself, weak from blood loss and dehydration. 
It took all the strength I had to steady myself on my true love’s arm, which stabilized me; his other hand clasped over mine, holding it in place.
We were there to meet a qualified surgeon, who said he could stop the bleeding. 
My love kept whispering, “a few more steps, just a few more steps…”
Even though neither one of us had ever been there.
His whispers, nevertheless, comforted me.  

My measure of romance will always be in the way my true love steadies me,
up the bleak and stony steps that are too difficult to scale alone.   
On steps like these, weak and bloodless with nothing left to give,  I measure my true love’s heart.