Two Love Stories


Love Story No. 19


Walking side by side,
winter night, city street,

she murmurs,
and her grown son knows what she means—

the buttery light,
how it swathes each object
in the windows of strangers,

the hard and soft of what they love
shining in a lit rectangle.

My mother, he thinks,
she’s vulnerable to such things.

Or this is what she tells herself,
how she imagines he regards her
as she takes his elbow
against the cold and ice.


Love Story No.  21


The cat taps my arm, my elbow, my hand
insists I attend to her, now
places her paw, gentle, yet deliberate
firm on my being

she stretches up from the kitchen counter
rests her forepaws on my shoulder
looks into my eyes, sniffs my chin
waits for me to open my mouth

and when I do, she tucks her head inside
as far as she can, inspects my tongue, my teeth
we breathe in each other’s warm animal breath

she begins to lick my lip, her tongue rasping
against my skin, she cleans the corner of my mouth
sweeps into the expanse of my cheek

then she waits for me to smooth her fur
massage the bridge of her nose, her brow
her outstretched neck, her undulating spine

~ Mary Buchinger ~