Every love counts, the puppy you were given
At six, the tadpoles that you tried to raise;
Even your silly parents and the siblings
You couldn’t stand were loved on certain days.

The first love of your adolescence, later
Spoken of slightingly as immature,
The love of marriage, even if it ended
In bitterness, the friends that still endure.

Into the mix, put in your charity
To those who had no one but you to love them.
All the loves given, even reluctantly,
Are still our loves. Let’s not make little of them.

They form the only fire that burns on
When sun and moon and stars have packed and gone.

—Gail White