Cole, I said, do you think I’m lovable?As in ‘cuddly and’?As in ‘able to be loved,’ I said.Cole’s gaze was unwavering. Just for a moment, I had the strange idea that I could see exactly what he had looked like when he was younger and exactly what he’d look like when he was older. It was piercing, a secret glimpse of his future. Maybe, he said. But you won’t let anybody try.I closed my eyes and swallowed. I can’t tell the diference between not fighting, I said,and giving up.Despite my eyelids being tightly shut, a single, hot tear ran out of my left eye. I was so angry that it had escaped. I was so angry.Beneath me, the bed tipped as Cole edged closer. I felt him lean over me. His breath, warm and measured, hit my cheek. Two breaths. Three. Four. I didn’t know what I wanted. Then I heard him stop breathing and a second later, I felt his lips on my mouth. It wasn’t the sort of kiss I’d had with him before, hungry, wanting, desperate. It wasn’t the sort of kiss I’d had with anyone before. This kiss was so soft that it was like a memory of a kiss, so careful on my lips that it waslike a memory of a kiss, so careful on my lips that it was like someone running his fingers along them. My mouth parted and stilled; it was so quiet, a whisper, not a shout. Cole’s hand touched my neck, thumb pressed into theskin next to my jaw. It wasn’t a touch that said I need more. It was a touch that said I want this.It was all completely soundless. I didn’t think either of us was breathing.Cole sat back up, slowly and I opened my eyes. His expression, as ever, was blank, the face he wore when something mattered.He said, That’s how I would kiss you, if I loved you.
Maggie Stiefvater
MOTHER – By Ted KooserMid April already and the wild plumsbloom at the roadside, a lacy whiteagainst the exuberant, jubilant greenof new grass and the dusty, fading black of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet,only the delicate, star-petaledblossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume.You have been gone a month todayand have missed three rains and one nightlongwatch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellarfrom six to eight while fat spring cloudswent somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured,a storm that walked on legs of lightning,dragging its shaggy belly over the fields.The meadowlarks are back and the finchesare turning from green to gold. Those sametwo geese have come to the pond again this year,honking in over the trees and splashing down.They never nest, but stay a week or twothen leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts,burning in circles like birthday candles,for this is the month of my birth, as you know,the best month to be born in, thanks to you,everything ready to burst with living.There will be no more new flannel nightshirtssewn on your old black Singer, no birthday cardaddressed in a shaky but businesslike hand.You asked me if I would be sad when it happenedand I am sad. But the iris I moved from your housenow hold in the dusty dry fists of their rootsgreen knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that. Were it not for the way you taught me to lookat the world, to see the life at play in everything,I would have to be lonely forever.
Ted Kooser