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When I was young, I heard
and saw a lot, listened—took
it in, used my senses to try
to be the best I could be.

Sort of a win before life began,
something the humble guard
as theirs to be, open-minded,
a sponge in the open sea—

God overhead, faith within
the soul, but this was before
the words crashed upon my
mind’s eager shore, yours too.

Mom was nice, but sometimes
I was passed on to other laps
and arms, thought they were fine,
growing up now I heard three

Words.  I heard them, but I did
not feel them or want to
repeat them; I needed more
evidence but in vain I searched!

It may have been Grace that
pursued me, Senator Klobuchar
on the Judiciary Committee—steady
truth, still not in my diet.

I nearly passed out, then teetered
on a jacuzzi ledge, smoked out
on pot, lit up with flammable
liquid in my veins—

I avoided the three words, the
feeling in them, maybe because
my super fun and amazing dad
never used them.

“I love you” was whined into the
wind by a loving, conflicted mom
who canned Dad on a dark night
of confusion, not long after Dad

gave me his last sip of bourbon
to drink, the same room reporting
“Divorce”—despite Jesus’ teaching
against its very existence.

God help us, was not yet prayed,
but off to college I went full of
love—but Backed Up, like a troubled
sink, I threw my guts up on the seat.

Anne Devereux was all I wanted,
tennis on the circuit—no one listened
we discriminated against children
I’m just another weak heartbeat.

God, help us was not prayed, because
the need not peaked, not yet at
bottom the alcoholic I’d become
sought answers elsewhere, namely

in grades at school, trying to be cool,
all a cover-up over love for Anne
and Mom, all a cover-up for the lies
I told myself to tell other lies that

I was not lying when I said I only
had a beer, when I had three, and for
me at 90 pounds that was quite a buzz,
a mini-suicide, love walking away

from me, the next girl Melanie, a JJ
in there, maybe a Marne, Allison in
Summer, all an avoidance of telling
the Wife of my Youth

“I Love you.”

Three words, hard to learn, harder
to say, so when my AA sponsor said
them to me in 1996 without needing
to hear them back from me,

I felt something I could not brush off,
it was unconditional love, something
he learned at home but more in AA.
Weeks later I said, What the hey?

And I started to say the words, three
of them to express the love I feel
for life and you.  Three words to
bring the love revolution out of

the sad alcoholic closet and into
the open, below the big bright blue;
God above, faith in our spirit, the
shine all around the moment we

clean the street off, tell the truth,
ask a higher power into the mix,
and tell Anne how sorry you are
you did not tell her how you felt.

Back then was back then, and
here we are living in the stew and
stink of the pain of past wrecks.
But we rise for another day, turn

wine back into water, study
even further than our teachers
suggest!  Be the best we can
possibly be, with or without a

big cross tatted on your chest.  To
believe in a big world and universe
and to play a small but impassioned
part is to live toward peace of mind.

To say “I love you” key to indeed
living truthfully and ably from the heart.