Love as a Dangerous Word
by Anita Olivia Koester
My husband taught me to use sandbags to protect our house against flooding. Before I married, I thought I was the ocean, an endless ecosystem. A young man I loved said I was only a shallow lake. He hated me for marrying a man twice my age instead of him. Even shallow lakes can flood a house under severe weather conditions.
My husband took the sand and buried me, poured it into my lungs every time I tried to speak. He taught me, love was a dangerous word to use. Say it and someone might claim you, possess you so completely that you must raise your old self from the dead just to survive.
It’s true, in time you come to love your captor. Until the word is only a rope linking you, one, that like an umbilical cord can get wrapped around the neck.
Anita Olivia Koester is a Chicago poet and author of four chapbooks including Apples or Pomegranates (Porkbelly Press), Marco Polo (Hermeneutic Chaos Press), and Arrow Songs which won Paper Nautilus’ Vella Contest. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets and Pushcart Prizes, and won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, So to Speak’s Annual Poetry Contest, Midwestern Gothic’s Lake Prize in Poetry, amongst others. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in CALYX Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Vinyl, Phoebe Journal and elsewhere. She is currently an associate poetry editor at Green Mountains Review, and founder of Fork & Page. Her work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and PLAYA. Her website is- www.anitaoliviakoester.com and she tweets @anitaokoester