A Portrait

Because my love is quick to come and go—
A little here, and then a little there—
What use are any words of mine to swear
My heart is stubborn, and my spirit slow
Of weathering the drip and drive of woe? 
What is my oath, when you have but to bare
My little, easy loves; and I can dare
Only to shrug, and answer, “They are so”?

You do not know how heavy a heart it is 
That hangs about my neck—a clumsy stone 
Cut with a birth, a death, a bridal-day. 
Each time I love, I find it still my own, 
Who take it, now to that lad, now to this, 
Seeking to give the wretched thing away. 


From Enough Rope (Boni & Liveright, 1926) by Dorothy Parker. This poem is in the public domain.