The Next Time

The next time I love a man,
I'm going to love him slowly.
This time 
I'm not going to make a fool of myself 
As I enter his side of the neighborhood -- 
Running, stumbling into concrete. 
Believe me, I'm going to take my time,
One foot in front of the other,
Humming as I observe all of his greenery.
Who knows what he keeps in that nursery? 
Even the honeybees could betray me. 
This time, 
I will not at first sight 
Become attached to the slope of his nose 
Or the curves of his teeth
Or the slight wrinkles on his forehead.
I’ll just be concerned about me 
Eating enough dinner,
Having 10 hours of sleep,
And basking in the sunshine.
No way I'm going to rush into his arms 
Just yet;
Let me look at how he holds 
That basket of laundry 
As he flings his jeans on a clothesline. 
I will now have plenty of days 
To catch his kindness in a dirty pile of lies. 
Someday I'll have his lips pressed against 
The crook of my hands.
But against my lips? 
Think twice cowboy, not this time. 
Like the drops from a broken faucet,
When he comes to visit my garden, 
I will love him slowly. 
With every laugh, 
The pink in my cheeks 
Will stay pink;
They won't be scarlet anytime soon. 
With every door he opens, 
I will let him walk inside before me.
I won't ever be needy, 
Not when I'm awake, nor in my dreams. 
If anything, 
It will take him hours just to reach me. 
Those fields of sunflowers 
And that family of posies 
Will know better than to say 
I'm bluffing, 
Just you wait and see. 
No more will I have to be the only one 
Speeding and crashing 
Into the chest of another body 
Until he feels suffocated enough to leave.
No more will I have to recover slowly,
Waiting for my ribs to seal their hinges,
For my shoulders to spin in the right direction,
And for my neck to bend no longer 
Under my foolish head.
This time, 
I will love him slowly.
Maybe now 
I will only need a bottle of pills 
Or a silly box of Band-Aids,
Because this time, if he leaves, 
My surgeons will thank me -- 
There won't be much to do 
To fix this minor casualty.


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