Poem: Valentine's Day, 2021

This first empty Valentine’s Day
I find myself remembering
The quarrels it occasioned,
My penchant for romantic excess
Breaking like the surf
Against your pragmatism.

I would carefully select
Dahlias and delphiniums
And you would ask how much they cost
And I would be offended
Because, if I told you,
It would make me the sort of lover
Who might as well have purchased a vacuum cleaner,
And you would say,
“Yes, we could use a new one of those.”
I would respond with something petty
And you would tear up
And the babysitter would arrive
And there would be a chasmic silence
On the drive to the restaurant
Where at last, without meaning to,
We would both notice some quirk of the waiter
And lock eyes and smile knowingly.
The ice would liquify
As we drank wine
And each insisted we were the one in the wrong
Until we fell into a hotel bed,
Flowers and household appliances both forgotten.

I miss having you as the object of my unappreciated gestures,
The antagonist of my momentary frustrations,
The gravity well of my inescapable affections.
I am, however, thinking about buying a vacuum cleaner,
So in the end I suppose
The mark of your love lingers on.