The first time I said it, there was an earthquake.
Just a 5.2: nothing serious, you said.
But enough to shake the carport, to put your kids’ bikes in danger and
scratch up your wife’s truck.
Still. Made sense you didn’t hear me, then.
The second time I said it, your aunt died.
The older one whom everyone knew was getting close, but still.
Came as a shock.
You didn’t hear me because you were on your way to Toledo.
Your kids’ first plane ride.
The third time, there was a terrible storm
the kind you’re not supposed to have out there
and the power was out for three days
the contents of your fridge: a total loss.
Needless to say, impossible for you to hear me then
over the whine of the busted transformer two streets down
over your wife’s laughter across the candles and the rapidly melting ice cream.
The fourth time, your daughter broke her arm and
you spent all night in the emergency room
counting ghosts and singing Zeppelin to her, soft,
until she fell asleep.
Yes. Not possible.
And it was only then that I thought curse instead of gift,
Burden instead of joy.
Me, that is, to you.
And they’re predicting storms today
so I know it’s the right moment not to say:
I love you.