You must not think that what I have accomplished through you could have been accomplished by any other means. Each of us is to himself indelible. I had to become that which could not be, by time, from human memory, erased. I had to burn my hungry, unappeasable furious spirit so inconsolably into you you would without cease write to bring me rest. Bring us rest. Guilt is fecund. I knew nothing I made myself had enough steel in it to survive. I tried: I made beautiful paintings, beautiful poems. Fluff. Garbage. The inextricability of love and hate? If I had merely made you love me you could not have saved me.
Copyright © 2018 by Frank Bidart. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 22, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.