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An informal emulation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee with the blooming red rose of police bullets to thy firstborn sons.
Like a coy and unsigned suitor’s note leaving thee to wonder exactly who sent these flowers.
I love thee in the full knighthood of riot gear body armor that exposes only my amorous motives.
I love thee with the sharp cracking kiss of a baton on your tender temple, wrist, shoulder…
I love thee with the seductive siren perfume of tear gas.
I love thee with the steady, rumbling march of tanks on residential city streets.
I love thee with the warm, heavy-armed embrace of curfew and martial law.
I love thee with the sly lover’s denial in public, all the better to heighten my passion in night’s clandestine shadows.
And when thou would protest against my love with smoke and gas-choked breath,
I shall but love thee better after death.