Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: ‘I Love You, Too’ a poem by Alicia Harmon

There are places that we went 

that I had never gone to before or after you. 

When I drive by them now, you are what I think about. 

It’s not cause I miss you. Not cause I long for you. 

We should never speak again, and I know this. 

But my thoughts are private and I’m not one for avoidance,

so I indulge my squishy feelings. 


You told me you loved me over the phone after the plane landed at your next destination. 

I laugh wondering what you loved about me considering that

at the time, 

that for you, 

I was barely myself.


I remember,

in that hotel room,

you sitting in a desk chair

swiveling back and forth,

silent,

stuck on the troubles you run away from,

your heaviness aging your features,

bagging your eyes,

lining your forehead.

I stood there in front of you 

hoping 

that I could keep you from the bottle,

keep you 

from fighting some stranger,

keep you 

from whatever vice you turn to in the evenings.

Maybe I could make you dream again,

I could bear your sky up on my shoulders

as it falls, 

as you yank it down.


I didn’t want you worrying about me.

I could sweat under my own sun.

I knew you could not stand beside me 

anyway.


You told me 

you might not be a good person, a good man.

I told you then 

that you are and now I laugh 

because there are wrongs you committed that I can’t deny.


I was never in denial about you.

I knew better.

But I know even better now.

I laugh again at myself and

how I loved with my hands and feet tied,

wanting to do more, be more, always,

but being unable to be what I hoped.

Maybe my ideals 

are dumb.


But I tried.

I had never seen someone love as strong, as sure, as enduring as my father.

I wanted to love like that.

I mimicked the motions of filling up another

and never being filled.

I strained to make up for what my father was never given back.

Yes, I tried.

But I would make it all up through you.

I would surpass myself.

I would give.

I would endure.


Still, 

I laugh at myself.

I hug me to my chest.

I kiss my forehead.


What saved me is that you hopped on that plane to your next destination.

That distance and the bags you carried with you

meant there was no room for me.

Whether or not I wanted to be,

I was free from you.

I was liberated. 

I was saved.

You said that maybe we were the right ones 

but met at the wrong time. 

We know that’s a lie. 

But I did love you, too.

And my feelings don’t lay down 

easy.


I hope you are well.



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