When I Tell you I love you

When I tell you I love you,

Do not be taken aback by my sincerity

Do not mistake the passion on my tongue for malice

The fiery flick of a candle

A forest fire in a distant dream

Hard to distinguish without context

Even harder to extinguish


When I tell you I love you

I do it for myself as much as for you

Perhaps more than for you

I cannot keep such secrets you see,

The weight of a hidden love

I have lived in hiding for far too long

My soul is too old for those games

No closet can contain me.


When I tell you I love you

Do not mistake declaration for ultimatum

I will not beg you to love me

I do not beg

I will not mention what you will miss

If you can not already see it

I have high expectations for love, you see

Perhaps too high

But that doesn’t mean I plan to surrender.

I will never accept less than what my heart deserves

Nor will I condone convincing love


When I tell you I love you

You can say it back

You can say anything back

But you do not have to

I will not make you

Instead I will love you

I will love you with rainstorms over willow trees

I will love you with fireworks by a full moon

I will love you through fields of milkweed and mountain laurel

For this is how a poet loves

With every sensation or elation

Completely and recklessly,



When I tell you I love you

Chances are, you will already know


This poem is about: 


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741