Love is like Arkansas,
a little bit backward sometimes.
The best days are slow, simple,
like white rice and black beans
on a paper plate for lunch.
The worst are when you can’t
understand what the other
is saying: a seed from a southern
cypress fallen too far from the stream,
a woman in a beige dress too sure of herself
yelling at a woman in a white dress,
less sure, but standing tall and walking on.
It’s the certainty that ails us,
the thing we know we know when we don’t,
the river that runs away from us
to the north where it’s cold and dark and muddy.
Love is the loving of the doubt,
of what’s wrong as much as what’s right,
that wrinkle, that gray, that blemish
that mellows, even blossoms
in the soft, early evening light.
Photograph by Jose Padua