No cutie-pie cupid wings fluttering rings about the heart

or head, no fancy frilly two-way arrows,

or rose-colored alphabets shaped into vows;

just a pretty trick of history, an early-spring wish

when birds twittered about each other,

and Roman schoolboys, for love of Juno, drew girls’ names

to tease them mercilessly with swatches of soft goat hide”

all to guarantee purity, which has nothing

to do with the celibate Valentines,

of which there were, indeed, two,

although in different times and cities:

a priest, a bishop, passionately faithful,

martyred separately, in love only with the red,

red blood of Christ.