I sometimes love things too hard
until they eventually fall apart
like raggedy-jacket poetry books
by poets who are revolutionary
petunias like brave Alice Walker
or crave great blue herons, listen
for a whoosh of wings overhead
like Ada Limón as she summons
them to ensure her days are good.

But I also love things too softly
for fear they’ll just abandon me
permanently, ransom my faith.
You know how the sun is still
there even if it’s stuck in line
behind furious clouds so dense
they blot out a blue true dream
of sky and e. e. cummings forgets
to celebrate the sun’s birthday.

I love many things unconditionally
because that’s how knockout roses
propose to me year after year
when they unfold in their blousy
full bloom, shallow and raucous,
like women with untidy hair,
as in Rebecca, who also loved with
abandon despite myriad red flags
that clamored up in her garden.

I accidentally love things forever
even if they disappear completely,
the way Ross Gay’s crazy vulture
took off in his good suit of feathers.
Gay’s agave and persimmon were not
lost on me either. I mean the way he
marvels over their natural sweetness,
and if savoring just sugar, not the sour
of sorrow isn’t hard love, then what is?

Dana Kinsey is an actor and teacher published in ONE ART, West Trestle Review, The Champagne Room, SWWIM, and more. Dana’s play, WaterRise, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theatre. Her chapbook, Mixtape Venus, published by I. Giraffe Press was selected as “Best Dressed” at Sundress Publications. Visit wordsbyDK.com.