Anne Stevenson’s fig to St Valentine


I’m going to quote Charlie Brooker from the Guardian on this most auspicious 14th February:
“This week, millions of people across the country will celebrate the crippling delusion known as “love” by sending flowers, booking restaurants and placing stomach-churning small ads in newspapers. Valentine’s Day – the only national occasion dedicated to mental illness – is a stressful ordeal at the best of times”

But here’s my favourite riposte, a luscious and subtle fig to the romantic recidivist:

They will fit, she thinks

but only if her backbone

cuts perfectly into his rib cage,

and only if his knees

dock exactly under her knees

and all four

agree on a common angle.

All would be well

if only

they could face each other.

Even as it is

there are compensations

for having to meet

nose to neck

chest to scapula

groin to rump.

When they sleep

they look, at least

as if they were going

In the same direction.

–Anne Stevenson

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