Love Is a Verb

By Allison Albino

After a long day at work,

my mother drives

twenty minutes out of her way,

to the mall, parks, takes

the escalator up to Roli Boli

for an order of mozzarella sticks

(which she herself doesn’t eat).

She brings them home to me

for no reason, just because

they are my favorite:

their breaded crunch,

the hot stretch of melted

cheese, how I pull out

from my mouth,

an almost tight rope

as if she is saying –

This is yours,

only for you

who doesn’t have to ask.


My hunger is different:

my hunger is grateful

for a mother

who never seems


who understands my hunger

before my body does

who fills the bowl

before I even realized

it was empty.


Today, I order mozzarella sticks

even though I don’t love them

as much as I did

when I was ten

& when they are in front of me,

steaming, my mother lives

again, my mother dies

again & there’s all the love

I remember & all the love

I didn’t get to live

with her. I’m so flooded

with it, this love,

that I don’t know how

I’m still standing,

I don’t know how

I can’t not be

standing when I have

so much

lifting me up, so much

so high

I could pull down

the moon

& give it, give it without

the thought

of keeping it,

a giant pearl —


there’s only one of them

& I’ve brought it

for you, love, for you.

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