O is for Optional

Originally published April 17, 2015 for the A to Z Challenge. A version of this poem will appear in Chapter One of the novella, when Jessica looks at another “option” from Whitmore on her blind date with Bruce. šŸ˜‰

A poem by Jessica Ryan

RelationshipsĀ are optional.
You cannotĀ mandate my marriage
to cure your loneliness,Ā and I
do not need your love
to make my life complete.

Iā€™ve kissed more boys
than I can count
and haveĀ loved less.
My feelings intensify and
fade like the seasons.
Do not mention marriage in the summer
and never children in the snow.
Laugh at my jokes and Iā€™ll
pretend your confessions of
undying infatuation donā€™t amuse me.

I do not require the world,
only a smallĀ park bench outside where
the wood can rot; the paint can chip.
Sit next to me and hold my hand.
Ask of nothing; demand even less.
If mandates spew from your lips,
eliminating my free will,Ā I’ll add you
to my list of boys I’ve kissed
and never loved.