Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 1



Love of ()

Avi-Yona Israel


one: never deal in hypotheticals
two: never wonder, what would happen if
my (three) spiritual heart center was dollar green and labia pink
write my mother her love letter every april fifteenth
celebrate my father's birthday every december twenty-fifth
pledge my fidelity to my soft and gentle mirror
each february fourteenth until the twelfth of never, ever, forever
is it narcissism to care for someone because they see
themselves in me? can I love

money if it feeds her and keeps her warm –
my country, if it sends my baby to indefinite war
only lets him dream if he doesn't come back with something
that grew and breathed and might still taste like it, like
all the gods want me to hold you close and treat you
like someone selfish, who has taken the time to think
how she'd like to be. Loved,
until tested by the surprise of the expected
doesn't seem like love at all, unless it is

only ever relative, even for a relative –
let a burning bush talk to me.
I will point out that it's only natural
for dry leaves to crack with fire when there's no water and too much wind.
if I have to let her go to deserve to keep her,
sit in my cage to ponder my freedom,
pray to my image dying on the cross to live,
endless work to know the joy of doing nothing,
heavy heart because my hands are full, when aren't they


Avi-Yona Israel: "I am a writer living in Chicago, Illinois. My work has appeared in The Emerson Review, The Seventh Wave, Esthetic Apostle, Capulet Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, and midnight & indigo, among others."




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