I used to believe
love was the answer
by Linda Benninghoff
The pond was a circle. Geese
rested here, blotting out the shimmering water
with their black necks, paddling.
I came walking here by myself
once, and once with you. Then
I was distracted. It was crowded.
People were eating potato chips
and drinking lemonade and coffee.
They laughed. We were coming here
for just a short walk because
you might be dying—
but we could have walked
further, into the empty park five miles away.
“I know,” you said. “We’ll walk
round several times. That will
be almost a mile.” I watched
the geese. You looked
at the people. It was the first
time we had walked since
“We should have bread,” you said,
You were smiling.
It was like a holiday.
You got out of bed and got dressed
that day for the first time in weeks.
If love was the answer,
maybe the geese knew it,
in their circling,
and perpetual cries.
Linda Benninghoff has published six chapbooks, including Elegies for
Mary, which won a chapbook contest sponsored by India’s Kritya
Publication. Benninghoff’s full-length poetry collection, Whose Cries
Are Not Music, was published by Lummox Press. She has an MA in
English with an emphasis on creative writing from Stony Brook University.
On “I used to believe love was the answer”:
When I was writing this poem, I was reading a poem by Margaret
Atwood called “The Poets Hang On.” In it, there was the
statement, the poets no longer believe love is the answer. I found
that when I was younger, before my close friend Mary died, I
believed love was the answer. I don’t believe it as strongly now,
and some of my recent writing has been about death, but at the
time the events in this poem were taking place, I believed it very
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 6, Number 1
Copyright © 2011
by Leah Browning, Editor.
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Valley Review are retained
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