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John W. Evans

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS


All day couples press their bodies against each other
on thin park benches around the lake,
often just young girls straddling their boyfriends,
three or four crowded together beneath the trees,
gossiping to each other while the boys look straight ahead.
How they must concentrate to seem so disinterested!
Or maybe I am too naive to understand the politics
of careful exhibitionism. Or maybe it isn’t love at all,
just a kind of rehearsed platonic indifference,
the couples a little further down the path pushing strollers,
stopping at the beer gardens for Coke and cigarettes.
Their children are young enough to think everyone looks old,
that it’s not so bad to grow up to be a fire truck.
They will know, in a few years, the deepest parts of the lake.
Today, love is just Sonny Rollins on the headphones
as I pass the sun-bleached pier where the old women
sit watching young boys jump from the bridge.

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