Virginia is for Lovers

(after Henri Cole)

How long will it be
before I start feeling like
this place is our home?

Before the strange corners
squatting in this house
stop gouging my hips.

Before our neighbors
quit bringing us bread
and handwritten notes.

Will my new license plate
always taunt me with its
prescription for love?

Everyone says to give it
time, as though time were like
the sandy bits of kibble

I drop at the dog’s feet
when he’s been a good boy.
No matter how much I give him,

he never mistakes these gestures
for his supper. Whining at his bowl,
he urges me to follow

trodden paths, to acknowledge
then disregard anomalies
of action and reward.

When do I stop
holding everything I love
like they’re broken?