When I Tell You I Love You

When I tell you I love you,
what I mean is
I’m here,
I’m listening,
what I mean is
what you’re saying
is important, so don’t apologise.

Yes, you are allowed
to take up space,
and yes,
I do love you.

When I tell you I love you,
what I mean is
I’m sorry.
This is all going
to be dreadfully inconvenient.

There are going to be
birthdays,
and weddings
and engagements,
and they’re not all going
to be ours,
but maybe together
we can pretend they are.

When I tell you I love you
what I mean is
I’m probably writing
a poem about you already.

Probably more than one.
And it’s probably not going to be very good,
and it’s probably not going
to get published,
but it’s for you,
and it’s from me.

When I tell you I love you
what I mean is
run away
with me;

We’ll go to Paris,
you’ll write poems,
I’ll work in a bar,
and we’ll be together.

We’ll disappoint your parents,
prove mine right, and
everyone will talk
and we won’t care, and
we’ll grow roses
and
be happy.

When I tell you I love you,
what I mean is
I’m here,
and I didn’t want to be,
and I picked you over that,
because a world
with you in it
is better than any without;
no matter what I might believe.

When I tell you I love you,
what I mean is
I won’t
always be here.
But I’ll always want to be.

And there are days,
when I’m going to fall short,
God knows, I already have.

When I tell you I love you,
what I mean is
I hope
that my good days
are worth all my bad.

When I tell you I love you
what I mean is
tonight,
you look beautiful.

You don’t need me
to write poems
about you
when you already are one.

And when I tell you I love you,
what I mean is
I should have
told you sooner.


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