Substantial Little Things

Substantial Little Things


I don’t believe in soul mates

Or destiny or fate.

But I believe in the bed of flowers

you planted beneath our bedroom window,

Lilies of the Valley scenting our nights

when a warm breeze

blows across the sill.


I don’t believe in destiny

But I believe in family dinners

when we laugh with our children

about the time we ended up

at a Chinese restaurant on Good Friday

in a village in Ireland because

we decided to travel without a map.


I don’t believe in fate

But I believe in the time

you held me when I cried

the day before my Nana’s funeral

and all the times

the world has seemed like a better place

because we cried or laughed together.


I don’t believe in soul mates,

But I believe in holding hands

and passionate kisses

and slow dancing in the living room

moving side to side to the music

when I am carried away in your arms

to all the places we have ever been.



Lisa McNeilley


Lisa McNeilley, PhD, is a cisgendered woman, married to her high school sweetheart, with two children and a monster-dog. She is co-author of DB Cooper and Me (Principia Media, 2018) . She also wrote Need to Know: A College Success Workshop (Caffeinated Press, second edition forthcoming), drawing on her academic experience to help students, often first-generation and low-income, manage the challenges of college. Lisa serves as president of the board of directors of Write616, a non-profit dedicated to supporting writers and the literary arts and facilitator of the Cascade Writers' Group. She was editor of Imagine This! An ArtPrize Anthology for three years. This is her second foray into poetry, and with Ariel Chart, though she wishes she had started honing her skills years ago.


  1. very profound & personal piece. Simple and yet substantial

  2. Loved comparing seemingly mystic, meaningful terms for the reality of what love truly fulfills.

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