American Life in Poetry: Column 046


We constantly compare one thing with another, or attempt to, saying, "Well, you know, love is's like...well, YOU know what it's like." Here Bob King, who lives in Colorado, takes an original approach and compares love to the formation of rocks.


I know the origin of rocks, settling
out of water, hatching crystals
from fire, put under pressure
in various designs I gathered
pretty, picnic after picnic.

And I know about love, a little,
igneous lust, the slow affections
of the sedimentary, the pressure
on earth out of sight to rise up
into material, something solid
you can hold, a whole mountain,
for example, or a loose collection
of pebbles you forgot you were keeping.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reprinted from the Marlboro Review, Issue 16, 2005, by permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 by Robert King, whose prose book, Stepping Twice Into the River: Following Dakota Waters, appeared in 2005 from The University Press of Colorado. Introduction copyright © 2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.