There is a song playing on the radio when he
tells me that he loves me,
his fingertips plucking notes onto my open palm
from a record we swore we would not dance to:
a nineteen-sixty-five Beatles album
and the sizzle of sunny-side-up eggs on the stove.
He keeps time with his restless foot on the kitchen tiles,
each measure signed in three-fourths,
serenading me with the tap and whisk of their bare souls.
I think for a moment that we will last until we are ash
from a memory that burns hotter, brighter, faster
than the cigarettes we swore we would not smoke.
The melody effortlessly falls from his chapped lips,
blending with grease in a pan that he slides off the flame,
as if he doesn’t know how his lyrics
strike a chord on the contour of my skin,
making me forget when we swore that love was not for us.
But there is something to this beat we create
in the sunlit corners of his kitchen that makes him
say those warm words with his tongue in the grooves
of his lips like the needle on an old vinyl—
and I swore I would never sway to Lennon and McCartney,
or taste the tang of tar, or sing the song that goes, “I love you,”
but he has me humming its tune.