Maybe I Still Have A Lot To Learn About Love

Maybe I Still Have A Lot To Learn About Love

I wake to the sound of my dog’s heavy breathing,
his little back pushed against mine, warm
and soft. And I feel safe.
He turns his head, reaches his face towards mine,
stares at me with those tired, glassy eyes;
awake, simply, because I am awake,
pushing his cold nose into my cheek
as if to say, ‘you ruined my sleep and I’m tired
but I love you, still.’
My dog makes me think
about consistency, dependency,
what it means to unconditionally
care for someone, whatever the weather
or storm or brokenness clouding their heart.
To wake up in the middle of a good dream
and still know, in the fuzziness of half-sleep,
I am his human. His person. The bearer of treats
and happiness. And maybe love is just overcomplicated
by our human desires to be selfish. Maybe I am too stubborn,
stuck in my own independence to see love
is letting go. Allowing someone to take care of you
and enjoying the freedom
in being held. Maybe this little beating heart,
four paws, tiny ears understands
more than I give him credit for—love
is letting someone lift the load from your shoulders,
even if the burden is what you’ve built
your foundation upon. Love is learning
you don’t have to carry everything yourself,
even if your strength is what defines you. Love isn’t losing
yourself. Love is finding who you are
in the arms of another person. Love is wet noses,
shared beds, synchronized, sleepy breaths. Simple
and pure. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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