The Seven Stages of Loving You


I don’t think you realise
just how much I love you,
but, then again, how could you?

There are no words to describe the slow delirium
that spreads through my body like poison ivy
until my chest is a nest of addiction

nor how you storm the gates of this skin
until you exist in the spaces of me
that can’t be out-written.


You make me feel
like you could knock the breath
from the stars,

you leave my mouth
full of commas

and, through all of this,
you’ve taught me
how to do tricks with longing.


I wish you would stop stealing on me like winter
because the blank page of my body aches for you.

There are so many puddles of you in me
deep enough to drown in that I do

and, even though I’m trying
to teach myself how to be alone,
the ghosts of you keep getting in the way.


I know your ghost.
I know its passion.

It’s stripped all words from me
with just that look.

I know that there must be more to life than this,
but drifting in the blue of your eyes makes me doubt it.


You’ve never broken the yoke of my longing
with your hungry hands.

You’ve never let the seas of your eyes
rock the lonely nights by my side.

You’ve never taken me in
when my love was too much
for the boats of these lips to carry.


I was so sure of everything until you.

You didn’t tell me
you were looking for prey
when I met you

and, now, you’re too comfortable a thought
for me to climb out of.


This was a mistake.

I was only meant to love you,
but now there’s a fist
the size and shape of you
in my stomach

and there should be a word
to make you feel the same way.

I just can’t seem to find it.

© Keighley Perkins


About handshedown

Keighley Perkins is a Cardiff-based poet whose influences include Anis Mojgani, Selima Hill and Richard Brautigan. Her work has previously been published in "Acumen", "Elbow Room", "Erbacce", "Fire", "Northwind" and "Obsessed with Pipework". She can also be found online on Twitter at @handshedown. View all posts by handshedown

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