Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Emily Stout

Love Poem

I sit on the front porch, reading, while Carole meanders in the yard, picks up sticks from
the grass, puts them in a garbage bag. When I’m done reading a page and all I want to do

is stare at the house across the street, a dog, a loose stick that she hasn’t picked up yet, I put
the spine of one book inside the other. Today, it’s Glass, Irony & God and The White Book.

Each morning, we tell each other what we have to get done. I need to write a poem, answer
some emails, take a nap. She needs to work in the yard, take a nap, eat a tomato.

Once, I was talking to an acquaintance about Chicago. “My housemate is from Chicago,” I said.
They looked surprised. “I didn’t know you were married!” I hadn’t realized how close

housemate and husband are, in sound and practicality. The wind starts and my pages flap
wildly, so I go inside to call my parents. They, I’m sure, would be happy if I had a husband

from Chicago. He would take us to a White Sox game and The Bean, where we’d see each
other new and reflected. Carole shows me pictures of her baby grandson and talks about

when I have one someday. I like to imagine spreading thin oil on its skin after evening
baths, chubby fingers sifting through a sea of carpet. What If I only ever marry

my different versions of home? Love is poires belle helene made with
the last contents of our fridge, spoon licking, chocolate lips.

Emily Stout is a poet and essayist from Washington state. She is currently an MFA candidate in writing at Sarah Lawrence College and has work published or forthcoming in The Write Launch and Breadcrumbs Magazine.