This is not a choice.
If it were,
I’d have my way,
not like this, this
fumbled dance, this
endlessness, this
muddled palpitation of my heart, this
chaos cry
amidst cacophony.

If this were a choice,
I’d have wine and roses,
passed from your hands
into mine.

Not momentary glances
and conversations long past midnight
when she’s asleep.

Funny,
I almost said dead.

Is that the way I’d like it,
then?

Let’s say it, love —
affairs don’t grant convenience,
they get in the way.
Tangled up in you I dream
of the million parallel universes
where you wrote down my name
and I wrote down yours,
she gets him and hers,
the world turns
and revolves (for once)
around us.

If this were a choice,
if this had ever been a choice,
I’d end it,
drop it like a sweater
that has holes in it,
though you loved it once.
Measure the string,
cut it,
begin again.

But this is not a choice,
nor is this a defense. This
is only to remind you
no one would want it
this way.

Notes on “This Is Not A Choice”

I’ve never had an affair, so perhaps I’m not fully qualified to take on the voice of the speaker of this poem. But I’m pretty sure most people, regardless of whether they’ve had an affair or not, can imagine how it must feel, along with its consequences. That’s what I’ve chosen to explore in this poem, which certainly isn’t your typical love poem — it’s a look at love through the eyes of the “other woman.” I’m certainly not trying to shine any good light on infidelity, but only trying to explore some of the implications it may have on one or more of the parties involved.

As a side note, this poem draws inspiration (in terms of theme) from 1) Taylor Swift’s song “Illicit Affairs” (from her recent album Folklore) and 2) Margaret Atwood’s treatment of infidelity and its ramifications in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Anyway, I hope this poem has made you feel something or think about something! Let me know what you think in the comments, or talk to me about anything.

To learn more about my 14 Poems of Love project, check out the introduction, where I’ve also linked the other “poems of love.”

Photos for this post were sourced from Unsplash, and designs were created on Canva.

Read the next poem of love — 14 Poems of Love No. 13 / Though I Say Nothing

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