by Lloyd Wallace

It isn’t enough to say I met you.
I was born into your love
Like a lobster waking in the pot.
The first time you held me, you say,
the sky climbed through the window
like an answer. Wind unclustered
on the roof. In the white yard,
light collected, like a bloom
of desperate milk.

I don’t remember this. I remember the years
of becoming what I witnessed. How I was thin
and thinned and thinning
by my waiting, then my hope.

Last week, when I came for dinner,
I watched your hands as they turned
the dishes, heard how they creaked
like rusted globes. You said that
I should measure someone’s age
by how they suffer, not the things
they haven’t learned.

That I haven’t learned is how
to hate you—though that doesn’t mean
I’m kneeling toward forgiveness. My love
is like the anise seed forgotten
in the cupboard, turned
to something desperate to be
pulled from out its box.

It’s December. The crows that walk
my yard unlock their silence.
The sky dangles its winter stars
like a series of sharp commas.

I get so tired
of affection. It only changes
what might listen.

There’s nothing here for us.
I’d tell you, but you’ve never heard
me talk.

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