My Husband Asks Me To Write a Love Poem

The plane descends forever—

at least it feels much longer

than an opera

or a marriage.

Slightly contorted, head forward, 

maybe snoring


I wake at intervals

not down yet then drift

again to an in-between,

which is how

to stretch

a lifetime.

The teaching book I love

to hate says jets

feel fastest on take off

and on landing

the points of reference blurring into treetreetree

at closest range—though

the middle stretch—

its ocean or its farmland everlasting—

is really where the plane makes


The take off’s where I catch my breath. 

The landing’s where I let breath loose.

The holding’s in between.

The teaching book 

says it’s best when time feels pressed

like constant take off/landing,

says urgency’s exciting.

says keep the students guessing.

How have we marked our days, husband?

With the inch-along

of work deadlines, dentist visits, loose receipts,

the whirl of kid parties:

piñatas and green frosting.

Hold tight, my love. Our time is passing.

Emily Pérez, smiling, wearing red framed glasses and a salmon colored blouse.

Emily Pérez is the author of What Flies Want, winner of the Iowa Prize and a finalist for a Colorado Book Award; House of Sugar, House of Stone, and two chapbooks. She co-edited the anthology The Long Devotion: Poets Writing Motherhood, also a finalist for a Colorado Book Award. A CantoMundo fellow and Ledbury Critic, her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Copper Nickel, The Guardian, and Poetry. She teaches high school in Denver, where she lives with her family.