How to Say I Love You

by Marie Marandola

on your mother
on your dog
on the friend at work
who knows how you like your coffee.

Notice how the words feel
in your mouth,
how they taste like something
you used to eat every day
then got sick of.
Hold them in your cheeks
until they are familiar again.

Wait for the right language
to present itself – it will.
One afternoon, he’ll show you
a joke on the internet.
The punchline reads,
“I love you like trains.”
And even if you don’t quite get it,
laugh at its absurdity together.
Repeat it back to him, then,
then again in a later conversation,
until it becomes part of your lexicon.

I love you like trains.
I love you like trains.
I love you like trains.

Then learn to love trains.

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