top of page



This Is What I Mean When I Say I Love You

Michelle Izmaylov

They say in science that the human body replaces itself with a new set of cells on average every seven years, so it seems someday we will both become new people who have never met.

But there is a flaw to average.  On one side of variance our skin fully changes in only a few weeks; I already have hands that have never touched you.  My fingertips have never stroked the midnight softness of your raven-feather hair, and I have lips that do not understand what it is like to kiss you and taste warmth of morning light.  I have never felt your eyelashes like moth wings brushing along my cheek, and the epithelial lining along the inside of my chest does not remember how my heart stuttered against my ribcage when it saw the sunlight more beautiful than it has ever been reflected in the brightness of your determined eyes.

The problem is that the imprint of your glowing smile that can turn the tides of human life will linger for a lifetime in the cells of my ocular lens, and my heart muscle will still clench when they hear your name thirty years from now.  Mammalian auditory hair cells are never replaced, and they will always carry the echo of every kind work you ever said to me.  And I have heard them say: it is long-since known that neurons can outlive the bodies they are born in.  So though my hands may not recall the verses of the poetry I wrote along your spine in the small hours of morning, parts of me still hold on to those memories.

I hope you understand now for how long I will love you.

- This is what I meant when I promised you forever.

bottom of page