Looking back now, I see I was dispassionate too often, dismissing the robin as common, and now can't remember what robin song sounds like. I hoarded my days, as though to keep them safe from depletion, and meantime I kept busy being lonely. This took up the bulk of my time, and I did not speak to strangers because they might be boring, and there were those I feared would ask me for money. I was clumsy around the confident, and the well bred, standing on their parapets, enthralled me, but when one approached, I fled. I also feared the street's down and outs, anxious lest they look at me closely, and afraid I would see their misery. I feared my father who feared me and did not touch me, which made me more afraid. My mother feared him too, and as I grew to be like him, she became afraid of me also. I kept busy avoiding dangers of many colors, fleeing from those with whom I had much in common. Now afternoon, one chair in the garden. Late low light, the lilies still open, sky beyond them preparing to close for the night. I'd made money, but had I kissed a single lily? On the chair's arm my empty cup. Its curved lip struck, bright in late light. I watch that last light going, leaving behind its brief burning which will come to nothing. The lilies still open, waiting. Let me be that last sliver of light. Let me be that last gleaming sliver of silver, there for an instant on the lily's petal, light speaking in tongues, tongues of flame.
Song of Some Ruins
It’s no use walking the beasts of my longing without you, compañero,
you whose name means stone the sun
moves across. Remember our house, and the statuary of clouds
drifting through the rooms? And the sheets and blankets of our habits,
and ourselves two hounds lying down. We loved
like we fought, slugging our way toward each other,
sending up flares to announce our advance. And when our city
burned, we stood in the ashes, and admired each other’s
bodies. Now I ask you: how will we manage
without the steadiness of our long unhappiness?
Can you say you don’t miss our furious
putting up with each other? The silver waves
go on polishing themselves. The sun goes down
alone. Tell me: is this
as it should be? My body goes on
without you burnishing its crevices. Without
your faults, there is no salt. I will not again be fat.
Even my hair will abandon me, like a woman walking away
until you can’t see her. So what
if I’m given other dawns? I ache
for the grandeur of uproar. Light
brings on its armadas of taxis and butterflies,
and I’m forced to go into the street
and talk to agreeable strangers.