When I presented the first draft of the poem to the group, one member said, “You must be in love.” And, sadly, I said, “No.”

But I think I know what love is. Or pretty close, at least. In this final draft, I’m not changing much. Just looking at line breaks, maybe some word choice. But let’s not underestimate line breaks. I’m interested in two things. Do the breaks cause the reader to pause where it makes sense for the poem? Are there natural rhymes that might enhance the poem?

As it turns out, I’ve only made one change.

Before You Slept

On Mondays, we always ate baked gravy rolls, which are brown gravy ladled over day-old rolls, with pepper, baked at 350 for twenty minutes.

It was our only fasting, after weekends of excess, of wild turtle soup, and sweet potatoes stuffed with cinnamon-fried turkey, and sauteed rosemary shrimp, and garlic wheat buns, and Spanish reds, and Spanish whites, and…afterward…Spanish aperitifs,

which we would sip while spooning mint sorbet from metal bowls, and watch the red sunset, or listen to rain pelt the tree leaves, when you’d say, “I loved the first dark chocolate you gave me,” and I’d say, “It had half melted,” and you’d say, “I loved the other half.”

We would finish our sherry and kiss while our lips were still wet and numb. You would always say, “I love you more than strawberries, more than a perfect London broil, more than juniper custard.” And I’d say, “I always look forward to tomorrow, to remembering you like this.”

And then we’d let the glasses rest, and find the bed. You’d be my furnace, while you slept, your breath making waves on the pillow.