The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Jamie Poole: All of me


Roanoke River, north of Plymouth NC

All of me

If I could write like Elizabeth Barrett Browning and count the ways I loved you
as elegantly as she, then I’d have told you that I love you
to the depths and breadths and heights my soul could reach.
I like that she uses the conditional because it implies
that there’s a future me, a better one, that reaches levels
that I feel I never will in this life, but that I can still love you
with all the potential that I have, though it has mostly gone unfulfilled.
If I were she and my writing life was more than emails and unpublished lines
then I would tell you that I love thee freely, as men strive for right,
though of which men she refers I am not sure.
Then I would tell you that I love you purely, as these same men
of whom I do not know, cast away praise.
Instead I will tell you that I love you with all that I am and all that I’ll ever be.
Though not nearly as free or pure as those written of before, I love you with all the hope of me.