The Imprint

We will count on these walls
             to whisper
                           our resumes 
to the strangers who take up
             the work of these rooms,
forwarding them
             past dust.

Our purpose shared,
             suspended in trust
                           to a poem
      that told us a long love
                                          is willed.

Believing such
             we are bound to exit
                            by our design,
unmindful that this thing
                            has also always
             been lying
                            in wait,
                 a thing
                            in itself, bossy and brutish
that has thrived in spite of
              sabotage chapters
                                           occasional giddy


              A volition
        that exceeds
                            dull need
a self-interweaving
               imperative be mine
                             that will whisper
               our love
                             past dust.


Copyright © 2017 by Jennifer Moxley. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 5, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“For many years my husband and I have read William Carlos Williams’s poem ‘The Ivy Crown’ to each other. In that poem, Williams writes of love: ‘We will it so / and so it is / past all accident.’ My poem ‘The Imprint’—the form of which is a modified version of Williams’s ‘triadic foot’—questions the idea that long love is willed. Yes, love demands some measure of will, but I have come to believe that love is also something else—a force or imperative that can catch you in its drifts and thrive, even against your will. As if love is an instinct, like imprinting, that we can’t help but to follow. ‘The Imprint’ is also about my belief that emotions can ‘imprint’ the spaces we inhabit and the objects we care for.”
Jennifer Moxley