There is no singularity in this distress.
Winter babies know it as well as the scorched grass of summer,
which hangs its seed on the wind even in death.
I am arched between two tunnels
mirroring forward or back to two separate worlds
poised for escape, unable to choose,
suspended till you are done with me.
It isn’t a choice I made, to love you,
to collect you, remember you part by part
and thought by thought,
to be always studying the lessons of your cells,
your everbrown eyes, cold and dark as frozen earth,
hot as a barn in July.
I don’t call you with a willed voice, or scheme, or plot,
but rather with the response of a recurring frequency,
or the pull of a particularly unwanted truth.
Truth, after all, is the master, come suddenly,
standing in the doorway with eyes of stone alight,
stronger than food or rain.
Love is only the servant, cleaning the soul,
who beheads the bird in the heart’s kitchen
or makes it fly surprisingly
like a paper bird thrown for a child.
You say it can be taken back, what’s been given,
but it’s living in your bones. It sees from your eyes
and twists in the curls on your chest.
And you are in me the same
like the wine is in the grape.
It is my same stubbornness you show me
as you turn to follow your own shadow,
as you fly like an arrow in the night from me,
as my hand lets go the bowstring,
as my own refusal to be known denies me.
These are things that can be named
but they are still not things that can be changed.
It can only be said that perhaps tomorrow will swallow them,
when all my molecules untie, spinning like dust motes in the light,
these pieces and atoms of you will blow like seed in the wind.
August 1991, revised, December 2010