I’m on the road today, separated from my own valentines, so here is a bittersweet reflection on the day.
by Ann Lauinger
Today Miss Schatz’s room is consumed in labor
as twenty pairs of blunt-nosed scissors creak
through white doilies and red construction paper,
cutting out hearts whose valves will never leak,
hearts that won’t wear out, dry up, fall martyr
to a Rainbow Pack of ills. But, caught or taught,
hotter than coal and swift as a barbed thought,
compulsory contagions find their mark,
making us smart, all right, but not much smarter:
the necessary wounds — beyond repair
of Glue-All and glitter — that flaw the simple heart.
“Children,” Miss Schatz says, “Give your hearts away.”
Then just like last year, she’ll go home, and swear
to wash her hands of this unholy day.
A concluding note: I usually post poems that are already in the public domain, but this one isn’t; it’s from Volume 1 (2006) of Measure. I know I’ve plugged Measure here before, but forgive me for repeating that it’s a terrific poetry journal. And, it’s cheap! If you like reading good, new poems like the one above, please consider a subscription.