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How to Fall in Love in Less Than Seven Days, or

How to Scare Potential Love Interests Off with Your Intensity

1.

Talk to her non-stop after you match on Tinder.

She is a bibliophile / perpetual nelipot / lover of poetry and water,

like you. / She is a serial liker of things / and you

really like her. You are equally excitable,

soon have inside jokes

about having zero chill.

2.

Set up a date as soon as possible,

and then make it sooner.

3.

Send her voice notes. / Listen. / Try

to ignore the stuttering / in your chest / at the sound / of her voice.

Admit that her giggle is the best / thing since Brandi Carlile sang The Story.

Send her cute selfies / pictures of puppies. / Feel your cheeks /

flush and / your muscles stretch / when she does the same.

4.

Tell her your secrets.

Paint yourself vulnerable,

your scars on display.

Let her open the gallery

of her heart for you to view too.

5.

Check off every box

of your soul mate list

with her name.

6.

Spend 5 hours talking.

It’s the most natural thing

you have lived.

Spend an hour doing.

7.

Immediately ask her when

you can see her again.

Her freckles are the map

guiding you home.

She wears a world

on a chain around her neck

and you feel your world

chained to her; the dream

of it so tangible

you can taste the ocean breeze

of her on your tongue,

even now.

8.

Lose your mind in the days

of her silence that follow

your nakedness in a paragraph of text.

9.

Start to hate yourself,

again.

10.

Let her tell you she is only looking

for something casual.

Watch the world you’d built in your mind

crumble.

11.

Cry. / Scream. / Walk. / Forget / to eat. /

Wish / you could / forget / to breathe. /

12.

Pick yourself back up.

You dream of her still

and write too many love poems

into almost existence.

Melissa Sussens is a queer veterinarian and poet from South Africa. Her work has appeared in Capsule Stories, Anti-Heroin ChicHorse Egg Literary and Germ Magazine, among others and she was runner up for the New Contrast National Poetry Prize. She lives in Cape Town with her fiancée and their two dogs and can be found on Instagram @melissasussens and on Twitter @girlstillwrites.

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