Sunday, November 16, 2008



Always bad form to say, to announce, this is
a poem, though I’m not sure why, as if
the few of us here with me in these lines
might have ever thought it anything
else: a letter or guide to constructing
something improbable, without discernible
parts, like love. Here I am, waiting
on the night to press up against
the world as though all my stillness
were penitence. Or practice
for your arrival, for your body,
the sum of all your cells, the billions
which you are. This is a poem
but a poem is also your hair
in the night, barely different, one from the other,
your hair in the composed night
above the bed. Bad form or
manners or rhetoric or what,
I don’t know, to say so
plainly some simple thing
like the sun dropping
past the rim of sight
is red because of particulate in the air.
Or the moon burns all
night because of stolen
light, that the tides stir
at the beck of a burning
parlor trick. But all this is true
and soundly unromantic
and has hardly any place
in the stuff of poems,
except that in thinking of you
all else fails the test
of artifice. No longer is there
any use in pretending
one thing is another.
I am tired of metaphor.
I want you, whether your soul
and mine are some elusive
shade or highest function
of biology, whether your heart
is the fist-sized knot
of muscle thudding away
beneath your ribs
and the modesty of your breasts,
or the fragile vase
in which you have carried
all your life, here to me,
from a river which even now is shining,
speaking to stone your name
over and again,
the only poem it knows or needs.


Danielle said...

Wow, Paul! That is a wonderful poem. I look forward to meeting June even more now :-)

Me said...

shit, son. that's a great poem.

Lynne said...

That brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

Mark Doty said...

Really a lovely lyric, such tender regard in it.

catnapping said...

i miss my husband. he loved me this way. thank you.