“I Don’t Need I Love Yous” by Cindy Patrick

Poetry Pause is the League of Canadian Poets’ daily poetry dispatch. Read “I Don’t Need I Love Yous” by Cindy Patrick, winner of the 2023 Lesley Strutt Poetry Prize and part of our 2024 Poem in Your Pocket Day collection!

I Don’t Need I Love Yous

by Cindy Patrick

We didn’t know what kind of owl it was.

He told them the wingspan was so massive

we could fit inside. Enveloping gray, downy

arms. A wrap of warm fog. But I know he

doesn’t do hugs. He doesn’t want to be told

I love you. It’s a capital responsibility. So,

I am needy for holding and telling. He can’t

take the hurt of a physical fold. He loves me

by convincing me his duodenum is swollen

and his wingspan isn’t as big as I think. I got

tricked by others who hugged me. Squishing

my breasts to memorable distress. Thoughtless

about my intestines. I was being “a miss”, taken

for someone who gets a say. Just now, I didn’t

express disdain for the 1953 dragster his grandpa

built nor sadness about the mice tossed out on

their asses from the field engine. Grandpa

tweaked my tit. Everyone looked away. I didn’t

squeak when he handed me flat root beer, no ice,

because he said the family didn’t trust ice machines.

There it was. The quilted jacket he bore. Data

scraps rivetted hand to hand, by grand or un

-grand parents. Welded so tightly he couldn’t

raise his arms. Or screech higher than the

family tree. He might never figure it out- but I

just did. With my wingspan I can hug myself

and never be uneasy. Fly away like the owl,

without turning around. My wings not required

to make any sound.

Cindy Patrick lives on Vancouver Island, observing Mother and human nature. Seeking no formal education, she is ever in her formative years. Her poems appear in publications: Blank Spaces, Subjectiv., High Shelf Press, Griffel and The Closed Eye Open.

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