I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

Lover, Come Back

by Sean Patrick Conlon
April 2, 2011



you meant it.  that’s what everyone says

about you.  that you were perfect

for romantic movies because you were

romantic.  I wonder what it must have been like

to be you: lover in the time of bones, time of blinds

closing, doors locked from the inside.  


everyone says, romantic,

a word in a dead language,

a dull bullet on the tongue, cotillion of suffering

remembered only for the gowns,

 their colors, amber, lilac,  aqua, blood.


everyone says  romantic

 like it isn’t a job,

like it isn’t something you work at

like life doesn’t dive

into your chest and then just lie there

like a mildewed boutonnière.




I never planned to write this much

about you.  I read your life story, twice,

squinting for your face in your distant light,

the honeycomb of sweetness passing back

and forth between two mouths, the lies

and the romance.  how they fed each other.

how alike they were




there was the night you drove home

from an awards ceremony, and walking

up the path to the back door, you found the dog,

giving birth, and so you helped her deliver

a litter of puppies.


you bundled them in your tuxedo jacket,  

carried them inside, with boyhood glow.  

 the farm still lived inside of you,  

 the tiny mouths rooting for milk. 

 ten times more than the moth-dusted star,

it is this man that I want to pull

into the world, again. 


Born and raised in Hartwood, Virginia, Sean Patrick Conlon grew up in a house that was 
once a Civil War hospital, and was believed to be haunted. As a boy, Sean lifted up the 
rug to show his friends where the blood from wounded soldiers had stained the wooden 
floorboards. Now, he writes poems.