Issue 14 • 2011



How Long I Loved You


by Iris Orpi





How long I loved you

cannot be measured

by earthly time.


This love is a sliver of destiny

recycled from the fertile waters

that used to nourish the Tree of Life

in the middle of Bahrain

before it came to be a desert,

that fell as raindrops on one of

Marie Antoinette’s nights of revelry,

and afterward came to participate

in the 60-year fermenting of grape juice

in Cognac in the west of France.

(Here is the bottle in front of me

dark and inviting

against the low light of the restaurant

throwing on my face the colors of motley.)


Yours is the name

whispered from undefined depths of pleasure

on whose back I dug the fingernails

of my devirginized innocence


Yours are the words

that the two-dimensional graph

of my inspiration

has been asymptotically approaching

ever since I started writing

the maturity of artistry

that my audiences

—both real and imagined—

assured me I’d cross paths with someday


Yours is the oneness of mind and flesh,

the legally binding marriage of logic and faith,

the unconditional union of wakefulness and dreams

that urban legends attempted to capture

and folklore pretended to remember

while I read them in the library

I inherited from my grandfather


and it finally arrived,

the physical time that

laughs at the awkwardness

of the concept of lightyears

and impatiently waits

for Einstein’s unifying theory of relativity

to be finalized

and taught in kindergarten classrooms


it tells me I have to love you

if I am to be

without end








Iris Orpi’s first work of non-fiction, 181 Dreams: Heart, Hope and Healing, was a documentation of the projects of the former First Gentleman Miguel Jose Arroyo, husband of the former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.  In September 2010, her first novel, The Espresso Effect, was published.