My Teenage Son Tells Me There’s No Such Thing as Love
(or Maybe It’s Just Overrated)
by Ariana D. Den Bleyker
You know what’s interesting? he says.
You can run your finger through fire
without getting burned but never water
without getting wet. He seeks elements,
symbols, milestones, how to read
smoke signals & flight patterns,
things reaching from the distance.
There are many miles between
flying birds & the ladder he’s descending—
the window I lean from is beyond
what can be seen or reached
without falling forward. He stands
where the landscape ends—
suspended, risen as angel, lofty as star—
levitating, longing. He hovers
above the birds. I fear
dead weight & scattered nest.
I’m slightly above what ripens & falls
in an orchard engulfed by fire.
He’s what burns, slowly dwindling,
feeling thirsty, squeezing his heart
out for what falls away.
I want the man who slides out
from beneath my wings to journey
onward. He says, And what if the poem
about making love isn’t about love,
what if it’s about fucking? If it felt like love,
it was, I say. It’s whatever it wants to be—
sex, love, lust, deliverance.
Love: this territory with no harbor,
no stopping, body with virgin heart.
The blue flesh of sky opens
its mouth for him to hide his grenade.
I tell him to pull the pin—
keep in mind: we all fall once.
* * * * *
"My Teenage Son Tells Me There’s No Such Thing as Love (or Maybe It’s Just Overrated)" is from Ariana D. Den Bleyker's chapbook Confessions of a Mother Hovering in the Space Where Birds Collide with Windows.
Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York's Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections, fifteen chapbooks, a novelette, and experimental memoir, and two crime novellas. She hopes you'll fall in love with her words.