Traci Brimhall
I Would Do Anything for Love, But I Won't

cook lobster. They're loyal sea rubies and deserve

better than a pinch of lemon and herbed butter.


But I'll shower hot enough to brighten you, make

zinnias of your shoulders and steal the towels when


it's over, your water-tattooed back a garden before it

fades. I won't shave anything unless I feel like it, but


I'll wax whatever part of your body you request. 

I'm not an empath, so I won't cry when I do it. I'll let 


your pain be yours. I won't give up coffee or pistachios

or my dog. I know you wouldn't ask, but I like to be 


up front about my boundaries. I bark mine like a seagull,

touching my books, my mother’s china, my chest,


but you’re fine with kindness. You wait for me to feel

safe. I will always let you tease me about talking


to my plants when I water them if you let me tease

the way your hips go stiff when we salsa, but even then


I won't plan another trip to Rome with you. Not this

year anyway. Not after we've given back the tickets


and calendars, dinners and sunburns we thought were

waiting. Instead let's accept the mail order lemon trees.


Let's accept repeating puzzles we've already finished,

try the paloma recipe again. Let's accept it's not what


we would do for each other, but what we can do,

and I can feed the sourdough starter we named Gizmo.


You can return my bowl when you've washed it. But

I won't let you say Pluto is not a planet—I miss the solar


system's symmetry. I won't agree that ghosts aren't real,

even if you're right. I like a dose of fear. I like whispering


back to the knocks on the wall. I won't release balloons

when you die because I love sea turtles almost as much


as you. Maybe it's a tie. I won't kiss anyone after you die

for at least 60 days, and probably longer, but if I meet


someone who smells like you, I might invite them into

the rain and keep my eyes closed. We can disagree about


the shower curtain, can have days without texts. I can

chide you about the state of your tomatoes, and you can


correct the way I say trilobite, and the only time I'll run

is across the gymnasium in a pink dress, and the only time 


I will give up is in hearts, when I count the cards and know  

your hand, and yes, I want to help you shoot the moon.




Found In Volume 51, No. 01
Read Issue
  • traci brimhall color
Traci Brimhall
About the Author

Traci Brimhall is the author of four poetry collections, including Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod (Copper Canyon), Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017), Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010).