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This is Not a Love Poem

by Chinonso Oguh

This is not a love poem,

for I do not know if I can truly love

but there is an ache in chest when I think of you

that makes me want to open myself up

and free the wild beating thing that lurks inside.

It’s a wonder we can love so hard

it becomes sharp and painful.

These feelings, desperate to be expressed, 

push at my ribs and ooze through my body

becoming this mass at the base of my being,

screaming to get out.


Maybe if I write it down, I’ll be able to express

every wild thought that comes into my head

and makes my throat close up.

And I write this poem like a prayer,

not that you will love me back,

but that you will read these words and not hate me.

Hate me for looking like a lovesick fool

who doesn’t know when to stop.


I once told you that you weren’t my type

and I only now realize that was a lie.

I think you are beautiful,

with your burning hair and burning soul.

And you deserve a poem dedicated to you,

the way the old masters dedicated theirs to the gods

because the world is brighter and fiercer with you in it.


There are many things I see that make me think of you,

and I want to wrap them up and send them.

But how do I express I was thinking of you

without also laying out my heart

to be examined under a microscope?

I would give you my heart

because even if you didn’t treasure it like fine art

I know, at least, you wouldn’t break it


There is a part of me that is screaming, 

and I think it will always scream,

to put my hand in yours.

Is that too much to ask?

I wouldn’t want to ruin us with my yearning soul

which wants to know your touch.

But I want our fingers to intertwine

and not have to worry about anything else for a while.


I cherish you and any time we’ve spent together,

and I would not push for something more.

Those moments were special.

Like sitting on your dorm floor

talking about anything to avoid

the walk back in the sobering cold

reminding me you’ll never think of me

the way I think of you.


I’ve never liked the idea of a grand love story.

But rather I enjoy the idea of simply sitting in the same place,

breathing the same air, and knowing

the person you care for is only a few feet away

Just be here with me and know,

simply knowing you has been enough.

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