maraud, v.: If an outsider comes and steals your love, then it won’t have weighed nearly as much as I think it does.
marcescent, adj.: My impulse as a petal is to cling to the stem, forgetting that the bloom of love is a regenerative thing.
margarita, n.: I should have taken some pause when you said this contained “all the major food groups”…and meant it.
marginalia, n.: I enjoy you as much for what you say about the story as for the story itself.
marionette, n.: Forget ‘no strings attached.’ I want the strings attached. But I don’t ever want to feel that you’re pulling them.
maroon, v.: It’s not the desert island I’m afraid of; never leave me alone in a crowded room.
marriage, n.: Until I know how we define us, I don’t want the world to define us.
marshmallow, n.: A fluffy reminder to never mistake momentary pleasure for nutrition.
marvel, v.: To release myself from the dark room and encounter the wide world.
mascot, n.: You cast a cuddly eye on me, and all at once I feel I’m an emblem rather than a teammate.
mask, n.: We put ourselves in everything we create, so even what’s meant to obscure ends up carrying filaments of truth.
masquerade, n.: At Aline’s party, I see you pretending, and I don’t like the person you’re pretending to be as much as I like the real you.
massage, v.: Love becomes a manual act, affection the work of hands. I cannot relax into strangers’, but I can relax into you.
master, v.: There are things within me I want to tame, but I will not allow anyone but me to tame them.
masterplan, n.: The best I can offer is to love you, and see what happens.
masticate, v.: I will invent dinnertime conversation just to fill the silence that isn’t nearly silent enough.
match, v./n.: You go on that first date to see if it will ignite, then spend the rest protecting that first flame from going out.
mate, n.: I am standing there after folding the laundry, holding that single sock, worrying about what will happen to it now.
material, n.: Love will keep you warm, but it isn’t waterproof. It dries over time.
mathematic, adj.: We defy any equation that isn’t 1 + 1 = 2. But even that mystifies, since the nuances of the plus are variant.
matinee, n.: We sneak in amidst the children and the parents and the senior citizens and feel like we’re spies from a freer world.
matter, n./v.: I like to believe that ultimately what we care about is what we are made of.
maturity, n.: When it doesn’t feel like play-acting, being an adult.
maudlin, adj.: “No one’s ever loved me but you,” you slur. And I wonder if you dropped those last two words when you were back at the bar.
mawkish, adj.: “No one’s ever loved me but you” – what a resentful responsibility to put on a person, even in the guise of praise.
maybe, adv.: You think I’m hedging toward a no, but I could just as easily be seeing a yes embroidered on the future. What may be, may be.
maze, n.: I know I’m twisting our path as you walk it, but know I’m singing as loud as I can at the center, hoping you will find me there.
me, pronoun: I am constantly trying to define this one, so don’t expect me to know.
meadow, n.: To be so far out of the city that there aren’t any traces of the city left, even in our thoughts.
meager, adj.: There are days we have that can be measured in mere dozens of words, and I feel less because of them.
mealtime, n.: You told me you were happy to compete with the food for my attention, but not with the phone or the TV or the computer.
mean, adj.: When you know a person’s weakness and use it to build your own strength; it hurts more coming from someone you love.
mean, v.: There are always words behind my words, and with you, I want to make it a transparent translation, a glass language.
means, pl. noun.: That’s the thing with love – there are no ends, only ongoings.
meanwhile, adv.: Even in the heat of our moment, I must remember there are other narratives within you that have nothing to do with me.
measure, v.: It is not the number of times you say “I love you” but the incalculable depth to which you mean it.
mechanical, adj.: “I don’t know how to change a tire,” you said, “but I know how to find someone who does.”
meddle, v.: Trust is being the one who brings in the mail, and not questioning every handwritten return address.
mediate, v.: We’ve never had someone be our middle ground. There are your friends and my friends. We are forced to be our own emissaries.
medicate, v.: I know you’re scared, but you are still you. You’ve just lowered the difficulty level a notch.
mediocre, adj.: I don’t care if you’re bad at something, but I will not let you act as if you will never be good at anything.
meditation, n.: “Were you napping?” I ask. You say, “No, I was thinking.” I nod and leave the room quietly, as if you were napping.
medium, adj.: If our options are mild to spicy, I am comfortable with our relationship landing somewhere in between.
medley, n.: You think the trick with love is to find the right song, but really it’s the act of finding the songs that go together well.
meek, adj.: I didn’t want to stand up to you, afraid to give you a reason to leave. Eventually I realized neither of us can live like that.
meet, v.: Is it the first hello written or the first hello said? The first introduction or the first time words heighten to understanding?
meh, exclam.: A fit of lazy commentary.
melancholy, adj.: Life feels neither awake nor asleep and there’s nothing I can do about it.
meld, v.: Summer hands sealed by sweat, unexpectedly comfortable.
melee, n.: As the crowd at the concert began to turn into a restless, pushing beast, you read my mind and searched for the exit.
melliferous, adj.: You can be a hive of restlessness, but then you’ll calm and yield a slow sweetness.
mellow, adj.: You can be relaxed, for sure, but it’s not okay for you to be unconcerned.
melodic, adj.: The sounds most pleasing to my ear are the ones that are telling the truth.
melodramatic, adj.: I get caught in the spotlight of my self-righteousness and the stage constricts to the size of my own concerns.
meltdown, n.: After one too many wrong turns, you start cursing the car, the road, the trees, and me if I open my mouth.
membrane, n.: When I said I couldn’t trust you, I wanted my words to travel like ink under your skin and stay there forever.
meme, n.: An extraneous posting, often involving a kitten, which underneath is a cry of “me! me!”
memento, n.: Without my love for you, the hula girl on my desk is just a souvenir of a place, not a souvenir of a person and a time.
memorable, adj.: There’s no hitting save here. The mind holds on to what the mind can hold. We can ask it to grab, but it makes no promises.
memorial, n.: Words will last, for as long as there is someone who wants to read them.
memorize, v.: I lay the tracing paper over the moment, but the best I’ll retain is a rough sketch.
menace, v.: The days move too quickly.
menagerie, n.: I have nightmares where you blithely walk into a pet store and say, “I’ll have one of each!”
mend, v.: It’s okay if the stitching shows. We aren’t together to be fashionable; the important thing is that our love can still be worn.
mendacity, n.: Why is it, when you love someone so much, you can recognize the breath before a lie?
menial, adj.: No one thinks love is about washing dishes or taking out the garbage, but if you forget that, love gets quickly frustrated.
mentality, n.: We don’t look on the bright side, because it hurts our eyes. Nor do we stay in the dark. We try to see in a realistic light.
mention, v.: “I’m sure I already told you this,” you say, and I’m sure you’re relying on the leeway of my poor memory, which isn’t fair.
mentor, v.: I don’t want you to teach me what you know. I want you to share with me what you’re learning.
menu, n.: Of all the choices, we wanted the same one. Neither of us changed our order, agreeing it was silly to deny ourselves
mercenary, adj.: You see furniture left on the street as an opportunity, and I see it as an opportunity for bedbugs.
merciful, adj.: We have the power to relent in a relentless world, to make peace with the forces that bring us the least peace.
mercy, n.: This isn’t something we can just show; it’s something we have to live, each and every day.
mere, adj.: Everything we grace with our attention deserves respect for the time it has taken. Or so I try to remind myself.
merge, v.: Neither of us was ready to let our own books go, so visitors could see the overlap of our taste as pairings on the shelf.
merrily, adv.: Summer swirls its skirts and a sunset falls; I hold your hand as we walk next to the water, our life together rowing along.
mesmeric, adj.: I don’t love the color of your eyes. I love the way the color alters, the inexact beauty of the never fully seen.
mess, n.: The only way to stop the neglect spiral is to sort myself enough to sort through my things and put them in their right places.
message, n.: I’d only been gone from you for a minute when you returned to me in words. The fact you hadn’t waited was all I needed.
messenger, n.: Still there are time I wish I didn’t have to be my own postman, that there was some separation between send and deliver.
metabolism, n.: I am going to have a third donut anyway.
metamorphosis, n.: Love turns us into winged creatures, venturing in ways we never could have conceived in our crawling days.
metaphor, n.: The faith that your mind can make the same connection that I do.
method, n.: You don’t think you have many, until you live with someone. (How to clean dishes. How to pack a suitcase. How to pray.)
meticulous, adj.: We’ll never be able to solder our sense of time to the reality of time itself. I just hope we share the same imprecision.
metropolis, n.: The way to survive is to find the people who know you when you are surrounded by all the people who don’t.
mettle, n.: To face your frenzy; to be the still point in the storm that you don’t even recognize is a storm.
mezzanine, n.: The state of not being able to afford to be close to the actors; good for people-watching if the drama gets slow.
miasma, n.: You tell me to turn off the news. I do, but the scent of it lingers, and I refuse to perfume it and pretend it’s not there.
microclimate, n.: The tension confines us and our minds actually believe that everything important is in this room.
midair, adj.: Our love rises and falls. So we must appreciate the moments when we’re floating in between, when there’s no need for gravity.
middle, n.: After a few months, I realized we were no longer at the start; we’re made it to the part that would be the most of it.
middling, adj.: Your defense of me can barely make it off the couch, and would much rather be watching TV.
midnight, n.: The longing hour, whether it’s for sex or love or simply sleep.
miff, v.: Because you and I need as many words as possible to distinguish annoyance from genuine anger.
might, n./v.: In the war between strength and uncertainty, uncertainty is the more active presence.
migrate, v.: Riding the subway back to you, I smile and think of commuting as a form of leaving and coming home, a turn of seasons each day.
mild, adj.: This is an insult to anything that isn’t weather.
mileage, n.: Like a pilot learns the air, I learn your temperament.
milestone, n.: In love we mark our own miles, because distance, like time, bends to our shared definition.
milieu, n.: The only way I can think to change the feel of a room is to change the music that’s filling it.
milksop, n.: Because when I let you talk down to me, it’s like my blood has turned to milk, my whole body souring by the second.
millesimal, adj.: There are the pieces of love we know well, and then there are those we must discover, so many more than we ever expect.
mime, v.: You are incapable of imitating me; every time you spring your version onto the world, it does not have my voice.
mimesis, n.: I’ve never seen a couple on TV and thought, “I want to be them” – they have it easy, because they don’t have to be real.
mimosa, n.: It’s only on Sunday afternoons that you believe this to be an acceptable name for our hypothetical daughter.
mind, v.: As if having a thought is synonymous with being bothered, or having to keep an eye out.
mindboggling, adj.: Love revels in its confusions, which means we should, too, rather than having them stymie us.
mindreader, n.: Lovers’ thoughts run in similar but unidentical languages, i.e. you think in Spanish and I try to read it as Portuguese.
mine, poss. pron.: There are things about me and things I have that I don’t want to give up unless I choose to do so.
minefield, n.: Some of them were placed there before I was born, and I’m as surprised as you when they go off.
mingle, v.: To get out of my own head long enough to get into other people’s.
minibar, n.: Den of overpriced temptation, where hunger faces off against the absurd.
minimalist, adj.: Inadequate.
minimum, n.: To know that you’re a good person and that you know I’m a good person, and any fight we have is one between two good people.
minister, v.: To find the prayer in the act of taking care of someone else.
minor, adj.: I can tell the difference between you forgetting to introduce me and you forgetting that I’m there.
minus, n.: To love someone is to live with the fear of who you will become without it.
minute, n.: The time that elapses between me asking if you are ready and you calling back that you are not.
miracle, n.: This one is simple — there was no reason for me to find you, or for you to find me. The reasons come after.
mirage, n.: So many years of being buried by the marriage plot, then realizing those ideals are as real as ghosts.
mire, v.: The chaos outside bleeds into the chaos inside, and I need you to give my life some form again.
mirror, v.: You do not always choose to be reflective; I just have to know how to look at you the right way.
mirth, n.: Sometimes the strongest bond we can have is a common amusement, an unspoken, mutual agreement to laugh in the face of despair.
misanthropic, adj.: You have to be crowded into this kind of hate; when I see it coming, I try to be the buffer, the firebreak.
miscast, v./adj.: I like to think I make a very bad villain.
miscellaneous, adj.: You always think we’re out of dental floss, so there are spinnets of it everywhere, like a spider saving up.
mischief, n.: “You left your keys,” you text me. Then, after I’ve panicked, “Never mind – they’re on the piano.”
miscommunication, n.: The makers of our language left a clear field around the word “love” so nothing else would sound just like it.
misconstrue, v.: I took your “Do you want to leave?” to mean you wanted to leave, which you didn’t mean at all.
misdemeanor, n.: Drunk while texting; drunk while complaining; drunk while operating heavy foolery.
miserabilism, n.: When the gloom becomes a religious belief, and you firmly seek the conversion of others.
misfit, n.: The great thing about square pegs is that they fit nicely against each other; we don’t need any round holes to do our part.
misgiving, n.: Knowing we had the same key, I still needed to have a bolt on the door that could only be opened from the inside.
misleading, adj.: Finding an other of some significance is not the end of concern, but only the start of a different form of concern.
mismatch, n.: “They’re both still socks,” you said. “My feet are still warm.” Maybe that’s us, blue and black, useful rather than identical.
misnomer, n.: “Lover” makes it sound as if you’re the only one required to love, that to be in a relationship is to give, not also receive.
miss, v.: To feel your life is a long way from its anchor.
mission, n.: You ask me what I want and I tell you I want happiness, but never at the expense of other people’s happiness.
misstep, n.: Unless you’re up to buying me some new shoes, don’t scuff me with your estimation of my footwear.
mistake, n.: Even when I pay attention, I miss things. Even when I add the sum, I can get the numbers wrong. I am sorry for this.
mitigate, v.: It isn’t fair to make me the buffer between you and the rest of the world, meant to temper your impact when its harmful.
mixtape, n.: Here’s a sixteen-track digest of my world view, and you can sing along.
mnemonic, n.: My terrible week thirsts for serendipitous surprise.
moan, v.: Right where you want to be is right where I want you.
mobilize, v.: Part of love is the willingness to defend that love; part of building a safe home is pushing for a safe world around it.
mock, v.: I know I am hitting close to your insecurities when you choose to take aim at mine.
model, n.: Nothing is ever perfect close up.
moderation, n.: Sometimes I think I should love you less; sometimes I think I should love you more. Either way, I trust the balance.
modest, adj.: You earn more credit when you don’t always take credit.
modification, n.: I’d love it if you could fall asleep on your left side instead of your right.
mojo, n.: You’ve taught me – look inside any self-proclaimed rational person’s sock drawer, odds are you’ll find a lucky pair.
mold, v./n.: I tried to shape you, but you rotted against me.
mole, n.: It’s strange to think that, because of where it is on your back, I know it so much better than you do.
mollify, v.: When I do the calculation and decide it means more to you than it does to me.(Yes, I will change my pants before we go out.)
mollycoddle, v.: During the thunderstorm terrors, I have you to crawl into bed with, the shelter I lost now regained.
molt, v.: Hand me your old skin, and i will get rid of it for you.
momentary, adj.: Time will not let this last but we can make it last if we stay here . . . here . . . here . . . until we choose to leave.
monastic, adj.: Only in the sense that, even for us, illumination takes time.
mondial, adj.: We’ll never change the world all at once, but I like to think you and I have a chance of altering it one person at a time.
money, n.: This is not the lovers’ currency; what we barter and exchange between us cannot be numeric, or seen in terms of debt and gain.
monochromatic, adj.: You only need one color to write down for me what all the other colors are like, on the days when I can’t remember.
monogamy, n.: The belief that giving up everything else is the path to receiving everything.
monolithic, adj.: People who talk about love as if it can only be one thing don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.
monologue, n.: When I can put aside my self-consciousness about talking too much in order to tell you something that I hope isn’t too much.
monopoly, n.: If our time is our property, I don’t mind if you build a house there. But when you start putting up hotels, we have a problem.
monstrous, adj.: We grant our fears their power and thus grant our monsters their form. The thing that keeps me up at night is me.
montage, n.: Memory as a collection of fragments, your mind always pausing a moment from one to the next, as if next time it won’t be there.
monumental, adj.: No erection lasts.
mooch, v.: First city year, we live off leftover conference-room catering, bringing empty containers so we can bring home the plunder.
moody, adj.: What a punishment this word is, ignoring the fact that it’s the person who doesn’t ever shift moods who has the real problem.
moonrise, n.: Love starts with the fanfare of the sun, then gradually takes on the rhythm of the moon, faithful but with less spectacle.
moot, adj.: If you have to ask “do you love me?” then you will never be satisfied that an answer of yes is true.
mope, v.: To let your shoulders do the speaking.
moral, n.: I could not love you if I didn’t have faith in you to consider the well being of others as much as you consider your own.
morale, n.: In situation like this is, tell me that no matter what bad things happen, we will make good things, and they will matter.
morass, n.: What happens when you seek more ass.
moratorium, n.: I won’t ask you to be responsible when I push myself into an abyss if you won’t ask me to pretend I’m on stable ground.
morbid, adj.: You tend to verbalize the gloom, tempered with humor, which is better than the way I act like it’s killing me from the inside.
more, adv.: We reach a point where it’s not that we need our love to be stronger; we just want as much time with it as we can get.
morning, n.: Opening my eyes, seeing sunlight, seeing you.
morpheme, n.: Together we work to create a word with two distinct roots.
morphometry, n.: The misguided belief that measuring the surface of any love will show you the truth of it.
mortality, n.: I don’t want to think about it, especially in terms of you.
mosaic, n.: We form our lives piece by piece from other lives; the more colorful we choose, the more fully formed the picture becomes.
mosey, v.: You walked away from our third date like you’d just won a game of darts and wanted all to know the next one would be yours, too.
most, adv.: What is a relationship if not the emergence of this word?
motion, n.: Even if our bodies aren’t moving, our thoughts usually are; we will never have a still point, only a perpetual effort.
motivate, v.: Please help me put a scrim over these screens, Help me create rather than observe or comment.
motive, n.: How to explain the way you put my head in the clouds and keep my feet close to the earth at the same time?
motley, adj.: It took awhile to see your friends weren’t a solid entity but instead a collection of odd individuals. Then I joined in.
motto, n.: “In the end, only kindness matters,” I answered, and then was secretly relieved when you didn’t ask me the source.
mourn, v.: I want your hand on my back as I speak a life out loud and find the moments I was missing.
mousetrap, n.: The lovers debate how much humaneness a small non-human deserves.
mouth, n.: Nature’s cruelty, that the spot you infuse with so many kisses and so much desire can also be the spot to tell you not to.
mouthpiece, n.: You open up your mouth and your parents’ words come out and you ask me to ignore them, even though you can’t.
move, v.: I want us to take the path of a gentle heartbeat, highs and lows inevitable but not treacherous, trajectory always forward.
movement, n.: Your thoughts inspire revolutions in your sleep, and when my consciousness is wakened I try to keep my protest quiet yet firm.
moviegoing, n.: The opposite of being alone in the dark.
moxie, n.: Fighting brass knuckles with brash chuckles, because sometimes the best defense is the sheer force of your attitude.
muddle, n.: The shape made by my intentions, pride, talent, bias, idealism, humor, hurt, perspective and lack thereof.
mug, n.: I’m not sure what would happen if one morning I drank from yours and you drank from mine, but I’m glad we haven’t found out.
mull, v.: It’s fine to give your thoughts some heat; too much, though, will spoil everything.
mulligan, n.: If my words fall flat because I don’t have the energy or skill to make them fly, give me another try, a sincere recalibration.
multifarious, adj.: Don’t worry about whether you’re my type; I’m attracted to some fonts more than others, but the words count the most.
multiply, v.: There is no such thing as a single lie; a lie always leads to other lies, especially when it remains hidden.
mumble, n.: I think you must be talking to the fridge, because it’s the only thing in this room that could understand what you’re saying.
mundane, adj.: The quieter fabric in the quilt, holding all our patterns together.
munificent, adj.: The best things you’ve given me can all be measured in days.
murk, n.: When the news is all confusion without solace, I will try to find your hand.
murmur, v.: Even when I scream, the heart still whispers. Even when I doubt, the heart still speaks me forward.
muse, n./v.: Before, I hadn’t understood how learning about you and learning about myself could happen within the same thoughts.
music, n.: To change the sound of a moment, in order to make us feel more.
muss, v.: I like it best when I’ve messed up your careful plans.
must, v.: To hold to the laws the two of us draft for each other, out loud or in our heads, on a day-to-day or moment-to-moment basis.
mustache, n.: You killed it with four short words — “like a small rodent.”
muster, v.: Sometimes I feel the soldiers I use to defend myself were conscripted against their will.
mutable, adj.: I am not a shapeshifter; I contain variations. That is what you must love and live with.
mutant, n.: What makes us strange gives us our superpowers.
mute, v.: Whenever I wish for your silence, it is only to quiet my own mind.
mutinous, adj.: I tell you not to bring up her ex at dinner, but three drinks in, you do, and I am ready to throw you overboard.
muzzy, adj.: No big decisions should ever be made at two in the morning, but at two in the morning, we can’t even remember that.
myopic, adj.: I pull you close because when the doubts hit, I trust my eyes better than I trust my heart.
myriad, n.: If you can only think of one reason to love someone, then that isn’t love, no matter how big the reason may be.
mysterious, adj.: Love gets easier once you realize you’re never going to solve it.
mystique, n.: I rely on other people to think of me as a voluptuous riddle; you know me too well to fall for this inadvertent pretending.
mythify, v.: As we go on, our how-we-met turns into an origin story, and the rest of our lives are reshaped around it.
mythomania, n.: Beware of the person who, when telling their own story, casts themself as a god.