You don't need to be down in the dumps, feeling sentimental, or celebrating Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day, for that matter) to enjoy some mushy goodness. With all the battering our psyches take in a given day (hello, news cycle), taking the time to exfoliate our hearts is important. To run with that metaphor, no one — not even the savviest politico — wants a giant callus in the center of their chest.
Personally, I can admit to not indulging enough in sentimental, mushy goodness. Maybe it's the '90s girl in me, but I have an awful tendency to distrust the sweet, the lovey-dovey, the nice. And while I totally get a critical backlash against all things saccharine, one cannot be critical all one's life, lest one wants to succumb to a joyless existence.
Enter these eight poems, sure to get you feeling ooey-gooey mushtastic. They're sweet, kinda romantic, definitely happy-making. I literally dare you to read these poems without sighing or melting inside. What to do once you've finished? Now that you feel refreshed and hopeful and maybe wistful, pass these poems along. That serious friend who needs to let their frozen heart thaw the heck out? Consider these lines the perfect prescription.
1"Dogs or Cats" by Leyla, 9
Do you like the slobber
Of the four legged brown thing?
2"A Poem in which I Try to Express My Glee at the Music My Friend Has Given Me" by Ross Gay
I hold a thousand
kites in a field loosed from their tethers
3"My Sparrow" by Dan Chelotti
We are all and only our distances
And when we touch that is what we touch.
Our messy shelves.
4"Heart to Heart" by Rita Dove
it’s all yours, now—
but you’ll have
to take me,
5"Chess" by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Exactly four different men have tried
to teach me how to play. I could never
tell the difference between a rook
or bishop, but I knew the horse meant
6"Sonnet" by Alice Notley
In her fifties Gracie Allen developed a heart condition.
She would call George Burns when her heart felt funny and fluttered
He'd give her a pill and they'd hold each other till the palpitation
Stopped—just a few minutes, many times and pills
7"Eating the Avocado" by Carrie Fountain
I want to describe the baby. I want to describe
the baby for many hours to anyone
who wishes to hear me.