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“Valentine” by Carol Ann Duffy


Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
A wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Carol Ann Duffy

7 thoughts on ““Valentine” by Carol Ann Duffy”

  1. But I love onions! I ride the public transit and sometimes tired restaurant workers get on board smelling as if they have spent the entire day slicing and dicing onions — and feeling embarrassed about their personal milieu. It is, to me, an intoxicating smell with untold promises of excellent soups, roasts, sautes, sauces, salsas, salads, the myriad culinary beauties of an onion.

    I grow ecstatic over the genus allium, poetic leeks, a sea of diverse onions, some top-bunching, the tender joy of scallions, enigmatic garlic, the overbearing propensities of chives, not the sensitive, miniature lily like garlic chive and there is the enticing mystery of the genus’ specificity: “Allium is taxonomically difficult and species boundaries are unclear.”

    And, someday I must experience the spring romance of the ramp, the allure of smoked trout and charred ramp…


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