You are not beautiful, exactly. You are beautiful, inexactly. You let a weed grow by the mulberry and a mulberry grow by the house. So close, in the personal quiet of a windy night, it brushes the wall and sweeps away the day till we sleep. A child said it, and it seemed true: "Things that are lost are all equal." But it isn't true. If I lost you, the air wouldn't move, nor the tree grow. Someone would pull the weed, my flower. The quiet wouldn't be yours. If I lost you, I'd have to ask the grass to let me sleep.
"To Dorothy," from Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000, published by Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2000 by Marvin Bell. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press and the author. All rights reserved.
She pressed her lips to mind.
How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.
She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.
Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?
I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tongue
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,
defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.
"The Kiss," from Everything Else in the World by Stephen Dunn. Copyright © 2007 by Stephen Dunn. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.
You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone.
He'd put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.
He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he'd hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.
I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven't both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there's your name
and the disconnected number I still call.
From Selected Poems by Tony Harrison, published by Penguin Books, Ltd. Copyright © 1984. Used with permission.
I were to say
I love you and
I do love you
and I say it
now and again
would you say
would you see
the world revolves
From Same Life by Maureen McLane. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2008 by Maureen McLane. All rights reserved.
Tonight I lingered over your name, the delicate assembly of vowels a voice inside my head. You were sleeping when I arrived. I stood by your bed and watched the sheets rise gently. I knew what slant of light would make you turn over. It was then I felt the highways slide out of my hands. I remembered the old men in the west side cafe, dealing dominoes like magical charms. It was then I knew, like a woman looking backward, I could not leave you, or find anyone I loved more.
From Is This Forever, or What? Poems and Paintings from Texas by Naomi Shihab Nye. Copyright © 2004 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. No part of this book may be used or repoduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. All rights reserved.