You walk into a coffee shop for the first or 846th time and laugh with the barista
You scratch your dog behind the ears in just the way they like
You talk to a stranger in a puffy coat on the bus on your way home from work. You chatter about jobs, schools you attended, and the ice storm and part ways knowing you may not see each other again but feel the warmth of this 10 minute blip in time
You sneak your fork over to your grandpa’s pie plate (he trained you well) and when his fork clashes with yours your faces both split in grins
You climb into your rubber boots when the streets flood with rain and clear drains with an old rake, waving at cars and cyclists that pass by
You roll down your window to call thank you when you pass others doing the same
In the correctional facility, you crack up a roomful of inmates with goofy self-deprecation
You refuse your inmate friend’s offered pen because policy says you cannot take home anything from them, but the next time you see each other you show you listened to their recommendation and bought your very own of that kind.
You say please and thanks, and take care. Occasionally you call May the force be with you, because you can and why not
You shrugged at your acne in the mirror last week and told yourself you are most definitely a babe, a hottie, a champion.
You held the door for a stranger this morning even though they were capable of opening the door for themselves
You carried yourself with dignity and self-respect even though you couldn’t open the door for yourself
You call your family, biological or chosen, as regularly as you can
You pushed for accessible, inclusive restrooms in your school/workplace/rec center, maybe not because you need them, but because you know someone does even if you’ve never met
You give compliments just because (you mean them)
You plant a tree
You don’t have much money and your stomach was growling a bit but you bought a meal for someone who hasn’t eaten much today
You’re quiet, reserved, but smile at the people you pass on your morning run along the river
You mailed a letter to your friend or an old teacher on Monday
You fell asleep after kissing your lover or
reading a chapter of your book and snuggling deeper into your blankets
You woke up this morning and got dressed
* * * *
There are so many shades of love and care
and all of it counts for something
even if the chalk is too short to make tallies
or your brain has forgotten arithmetic.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a romantic relationship or three
or have never kissed someone.
There are so many shades of love,
and yours is beautiful. What you’ve got,
it’s so much