• By Richard Katrovas

A Riff on Romantic Love


I do not need you like I do not need

To read, or weep, or stew in nightly news.

I do not need you like I do not need


To whistle past the graveyard in my skull

Or test my fears as someone dips a toe

In steaming water, or calibrates the dawn


To Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

I do not need you like I do not need

To fantasize a cosmic, meta-self,


Or beg forgiveness of my mother, dead

But not forgotten by the rank and file

Of demons chained to the bedpost where she wheezed.


One needs so little, wants so much, and I

Have hogged your affections, wallowed in your charms,

Gotten filthy in your pristine radiance.


I do not need you like I do not need

To differentiate between true love

And true love’s artifice, the truth of love


Being the blur of content to its form.


Richard's forthcoming collection is entitled "The Woman with a Cat on Her Shoulder" from Carnegie Mellon University Press. His "Chained to a Tree: A Memoir in Essays about Poets and the Fools Who Love Them" is forthcoming at about the same time from Louisiana State University Press. He is the founding director of the Prague Summer Program, and teaches at Western Michigan University.