I Guess We’ll Have To Be Secretly In Love by Courtney LeBlanc

“To not even think your name but keep it under my tongue, like a pill I cannot allow myself to swallow.”

I Guess We’ll Have to be Secretly in Love by Courtney LeBlanc


Inspired by a poem by Rosebud Ben-Oni with the same title.


To pull back, to not call

you love

                or lover or gorgeous.

To not                   tangle –

my hands in your hair, my legs

                in your legs. To not send

you birthday wishes

                (which you hate to celebrate

but I love),

or a Christmas gift            wrapped

in candy cane wrapping paper

                (which I hate to celebrate

                but you love).

To walk backwards

                                out of the ocean,

to not feel the sand being pulled

back from under our feet.

                To not

feel like drowning.

To not smile

                                at your painted

toes. To say I love you

to another name.             To not even


your name but keep it under

my tongue,

like a pill

                                I cannot allow

myself to swallow.

                                To not share

sushi or champagne –

to eat the whole


the whole bottle


To watch the days march


without the ability

                to freeze

time, to freeze

                                this moment,

to freeze

the way you look

at me                    in the morning.

To not have your brow furrow

                when you realize

I haven’t slept. To never


again, to never hear

your heavy         breath

or feel your arm                reach

for me in the dark.

                For sunrise to never

come, for the sun to stop


behind the palm trees, to never


                the ocean swallow it.

To not remember

                your tattoo

under my lips, to not trace

                                a path

with my fingertips.

To not breathe

                the same air as you.

To not breathe.

To not.


Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press) and is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Rising Phoenix Review, The Legendary, Germ Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Brain Mill Press, Haunted Waters Press, and others. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her blog at www.wordperv.com, follow her on Twitter: @wordperv, or find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/poetry.CourtneyLeBlanc.

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