artifact of lost love

i can never find the books i own

but it is valentines day
and i need my copy of e.e. cummings
selected poems bearing sticky notes

to send you a text message picture
of the first book of poems i gave you
the us before either could more than hope

finding there marking one poem
a piece of copper the size of a business card
stamped with “SNOWFLAKE” and “LOVE”

an artifact of lost love
once carefully made just for me
hoping metal would not melt like snow

i can never find the books i own

fearing loss is almost as bad as loss
as i scanned the bookshelves over and over
like waking from a dream about a lost love

i have surrounded myself
with so many books i will not organize
barricading myself against that which must pass

i have not yet collected enough objects of you
always joking all you want is everything
although we know there is nothing funny about that

so i spent valentines day chasing books
and memories of the us before us
like feeling the rough edges of a copper rectangle

an artifact of lost love

i can never find the books i own
but i found you

i found you

—P.L. Thomas