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.