Valentine to My Unknown Lover
by Linda Lenzke
Whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever you live,
whenever you’re ready, however scared you may be,
I am waiting for you, my new love. I try to recognize you
in the faces of the unfamiliar, or in the eyes of friendly others.
Perhaps I’ve already met you at the bookstore, or the
Farmer’s Market on the Square, our hands reaching for the same red pepper.
Were you the woman two rows in front of me
in the movie theater? I watched you, then the film.
Maybe we’re friends; belong to the same group,
pass each other on the road during our daily commute.
You may not yet have arrived in town; the new kid at work;
The neighbor moving into my building,
whose ripped cardboard box I rescue before hitting the ground,
our eyes meeting for a second
in recognition of something important, strangely familiar.
We ready ourselves for each other each day in our meditations and reverie,
conversations with friends, when they ask, what will your next girlfriend be like?
I ponder you. I wonder. My curiosity distracts me in my work, sometimes
becoming the purpose of my play, inspiration for poetry.
I write about you in my journal, I conjure you up in my dreams.
Know this sweet woman. I have loved, I love, I will love again.
I will love you as well as I have learned to love myself,
sometimes with abundance and generosity of spirit, often imperfectly.
I can’t promise I won’t hurt you, I will. It is the nature of life and love,
yet I will give you my best and hope you can accept the rest.
My passion and desire will wax and wane, yet my love will always be true
and yours. You will have my hand, my heart, my attention.
We will laugh at our similarities, and practice patience with our differences.
We will hold each other during the dark nights
and giggle under the covers as the sun peeks in the window in the morning.
Unknown Valentine, come out, come out, whoever you are, whatever you do,
wherever you live, whenever you’re ready, however scared you may be,
I am waiting for you, my new love.
Linda Lenzke lives in Madison, Wisconsin and has been writing poetry, spoken word monologues and comedy for the past 30 years. She edits a poetry feature for Our Lives magazine, has conducted interviews for the Madison LGBT Community Oral History Project through the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is a founding member of the LGBTQ Narratives, Activist-Writers Group. Linda has self-published a poetry chapbook entitled, Scenes of Everyday Life and is currently working on a memoir entitled, Perfectly Flawed. With members of the LGBTQ Narratives Activist-Writers she is producing a spoken word monologue production entitled, Conceal & Carry: Queers Exposed, which chronicles the diversity of queer life and love. She can be seen performing stand-up comedy or reading poetry and memoirs at Queerspeak, a Madison LGBTQ open mic. Contact Linda at llenzk(at)charter.ne