Just Right

by Camilla Jean Welsch

What if I said “I love you”

too loudly

from the pillow?

Or maybe in the kitchen

by the counter?

Or as I caught you for a kiss

in a very close entranceway?

Would you count those

as strikes against my heart?

Then there’s the problem

of saying it too fast,

too soon, of course,

fighting against the regular tick

of the years,

the days,

and the clock,

because I feel

there never will be

time enough.

But, I imagine

you’d rather just hear

the rush and retreat

of waves on the ocean’s beach,

where I find it unfair,

am jealous,

outdone,

that the shells themselves

murmur in your ear

ceaselessly

all day

and all night,

“I love you”

just right.

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