Poem of the Week | February 11, 2019

This week we present “What It’s Like to Fall In Love” a new poem by Heidi Seaborn.

Heidi Seaborn is Poetry Editor for The Adroit Journal, a New York University MFA candidate and author of an award-winning debut book of poetry Give a Girl Chaos {see what she can do} forthcoming from Mastodon Books in early 2019. Since Heidi started writing in 2016, she’s won or been shortlisted for nearly two dozen awards and published in numerous journals and anthologies, in a chapbook Finding My Way Home and in a political pamphlet Body Politic. She graduated from Stanford University and is on the board of Tupelo Press. You can visit her website here: www.heidiseabornpoet.com

What It’s Like to Fall In Love

I fall in love today
with the man fixing my water faucets,
how he crouches in his boots, feels
his way deftly to salve the leak.
I’m in love with dandelions & ugly bobs
& even morning glory as I yank
their roots free from this dark & luscious soil.
O I love, love the rhododendron
blushing newborn pink, love
the neighbor’s rosy plum vine maple
& love the neighbor too,
how she’s a dead ringer for Bette Midler
& who doesn’t love Bette!
I even love her little dogs—yip & yap.
O today I fall more deeply in love
with my sweet dog, how he rouses
finch & robin from the hydrangea,
barks a greeting at passersby
& they bark back, their people
slowing to lean over our picket fence.
I am in love with strangers today.
Sun brushes foreheads & cheeks.
Shirts & baseball caps rainbow the sidewalk
& smiles curve like tulip petals splayed open.
When bicyclists ribbon yellow, fuchsia, lime
as they flash by, I call out I love you!
O I even love the houseflies flicking
the kitchen window, wanting nothing
more than to escape.

Author’s Note:

Where I live in Seattle, the winters are mild but grey and seem to last forever. Last April, I was writing a poem a day for National Poetry Month in exchange with the wonderful poet Matty Layne Glasgow. It was April 19th, about the time when this idea becomes an exercise. Fortunately, a man came to help fix the outdoor watering faucets, so I was forced outside into the garden. And there it was, spring in all its glory. I literally fell in love with my entire little world in that moment. When I sat down later to capture the poem that was gathering in my head, my fingers stained and dirty from pulling weeds, the poem wrote itself. I titled it “Spring Love” initially but changed it immediately to “What It’s Like to Fall in Love” as that title seemed to capture the emotion better. As someone who revises and revises and revises, that was my only edit. A month or so later, I brought it into a workshop with Naomi Shihab Nye. She recommended I cut the last line to end where it ends with the fly wanting to escape out into this glorious day too. Of course, I made that change because it was Naomi, and she’s so right. And yes, my neighbor is a dead ringer for Bette Midler, how wonderful is that?