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They say love comes in threes.
Such trilogies extend
Times into books four to seven.
Erupt into eight in dreams.
I’ve seen love compared
To what was once Heaven
And now belongs to lies.
Also, love appears in songs
At intervals so regular
It must be true.
Always, the argument goes,
Love is the first, second, third
And final thing of value
In the singer’s world.
Mountains, friend
Are nothing
When the sea comes
Yet love will climb
Far above such lower levels.
Love is even, it has been said,
Delivered by the devil,
Or some equivalent minion,
From fat boy to lolling tart.
They hate love so much
They tend to kill it
With a dart
Drawn straight through
The designated heart.
I have seen dissection tables
In labs where trained
Believers in natural laws
Have torn a gazelle apart.
It feels like that,
The songs say,
Each time it beats its fluid out,
Drop by sustained drop;
It is worse than scalpels
At the chest cavity,
Cold as December,
To have love pulled out.
So odd a toxin,
It kills when going in
Or leaving the body.
Love is the little murderer
In cotton shorts
With wings
But love is also
The dove after slaughter
Who beyond battery
Arrives austere from Ararat to sing.
February 2014
copyright Todd Swift


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