how cliché to write a love poem today,
but not nearly as inept as the card
I could otherwise settle upon—
the same card gifted to hundreds of
wives and girlfriends alongside heaps
of chocolates and flower bouquets

(no offense to the creative exploits of card writers, chocolatiers or florists)

worth careful consideration is what
brought us to this point in our lives—
countless conversations and shared
study sessions in college, the gradual
mingling of plans and aspirations,
the decision to go forward together

we’ve moved far away: from Rochester
to Lincoln, then Fairbanks and now St. Cloud—
each place with unique twists, ups and downs;
well, not Lincoln with its pancake-flat prairie,
long sunsets and skies stretching on forever

Alaska snow twinkling with an ethereal
glimmer while aurora sways overhead,
cold made warm with a ready embrace
or a moose unexpectedly passing by,
nodding hello while munching willow

now home by Sucker Creek— named
after the fish I remind others, but we’re
certainly suckers too, not for living here,
but for falling headlong into the expectant
promise of love, a promise sometimes
broken since nobody always reaches the
impossibly lofty ideals set before us

yet we keep trying, together, day by day…

we try for each other and, even more
importantly, now for our daughter, Elena—
our love made real in a remarkable being
all her own, our spirit brought together
and magnified, our entire universe
personified and growing before our eyes…

such beauty, such massive cosmic love!

thank you for helping me to become
who I am now, so much more than
I would have been alone; thank you
for you, and especially for Elena;
thank you for family and togetherness

this is our love. Cupid’s arrow has
no bearing on any of it. this is our love!