Back in January, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Morning Edition announced a love poem request line: Send us your memories of love and relationships, and author Kwame Alexander will find a poem that captures that feeling.
We got more than 600 heartfelt, moving responses. You shared stories of being smitten and stories of betrayal; stories of parental love and of love between empty nesters.
And, of course, there’s at least one love letter to a dog.
Here are Alexander’s poetry picks for some of those messages.
Sunny day in a hammock with my lover, Tia. All I can remember is the golden light and her smile. The perfect way we fit together. I knew then I was sunk and in love!
— Angela Reece (Santa Fe, N.M.)
Alexander recommends “Toothpaste” by E. Ethelbert Miller. He tells NPR’s Rachel Martin he wanted a poem “that captured sort of the full romantic moment of this season that we’re in. Ethelbert Miller is one of my favorite love poets. He wrote this book called How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love. It’s so concise and rhythmic, and it hits you in the heart.”
“Toothpaste” by E. Ethelbert Miller
You have the habit
Of curling up in
Like a tube of
Toothpaste all bent
Funny and nice
I like to brush
After every meal
(From How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love. Copyright 2004 by E. Ethelbert Miller.)
My late husband always seemed to have a cup of tea for me when we were at places that didn’t offer tea. While cleaning and donating his clothing after he died, I found a tea bag in every pocket. Oh how I miss being taken care of like that.
— Brenda Honsinger (Saginaw, Mich.)
Alexander recommends “Missing You” by Jennifer Gresham. He says, “My mom passed away in September, and I remember taking her suitcase and traveling with it to try and remember her, to try to carry her with me, to keep her in that moment. And Jennifer wrote this amazing book called Diary of a Cell, about sort of the intersection of love and science, and I remembered this poem from 10 years ago from reading it. It really stuck with me and it applied to me, and I think it applied to Brenda.”
“Missing You” by Jennifer Gresham
The blue cheese dressing rattles
inside the refrigerator door, half-empty.
I thought about opening it,
drenching each red-green leaf,
just to fill my mouth
with something that you loved.
(From Diary of a Cell. Copyright 2005 by Jennifer Gresham.)