This Is How To Love Her: A Poem

This is how to love her:
Tell her about that summer you spent every night staring at the stars.
Ask her which is her favorite constellation–
Orion, Gemini, Scorpio?
Listen.

This is how to love her:
Play her the CD you listened to for two months straight when you were seventeen.
She might laugh at you, but that won’t matter.
She’ll want to play you hers.
Let her. You can laugh at her, too.

This is how to love her.
Take her to the movies.
Not the AMC or Galaxy in the suburban complex next to Chipotle and Panera.
Not the newest superhero flick, not the summer blockbuster.
Take her to that cash-only theater with a hole in the sign and a neon tube that hasn’t worked in years.
You know the one I’m talking about.
Maybe you’ve never heard of any of the features, but that won’t matter.

This is how to love her:
Teach her to shoot pool, throw a frisbee, shoot a gun, surf.
Don’t laugh at her.
No, seriously.
Play tennis with her.
Let her win.
Or maybe she’s better than you. That’s okay, too.

This is how to love her:
Take her to an art museum.
Stay for hours.
Tell her which piece is your favorite.
She’ll want to know why–the real reason.
Tell her.

This is how to love her:
Take her to a bookstore.
It can be a strange one–used books, art books, comic books, science books–in fact, the stranger the better, maybe.
Browse. Get lost. Lose track of her in a different room and let her float away for the moment. Get comfortable with that.
Find a book of poetry.
Buy it.
(Who cares who wrote it? That won’t matter.)
Spend the afternoon reading poems to each other.

This is how to love her:
Name every place in the world you want to see with her.
Every city, every ocean, every river, every desert.

This is how to love her:
Argue.
Shout.
Cry.
Fight.
Don’t worry, these things will happen whether you try or not.

This is how to love her:
Kiss her cheek.
Kiss her eyelids.
Kiss her collarbones.
Kiss her palms.
Kiss the scars that dot her body, the stitches holding her together.
Let her do the same for you
Let her map you.

This is how to love her:
Take her to a park.
Bring your camera.
Take pictures.
You can sneak a few of her.
Hand it over to her; she’ll do the same for you.

This is how to love her:
Be honest.
If you don’t love her anymore, tell her.

This is how to love her:
Let her love you.

This is how to love her:
Don’t be afraid.
And if you are,
Tell her.

Gaylord Ho - We TwoSculpture: Gaylord Ho, “We Two.”