Do We All Have Someone

the hours with you cradling your belly
in my hands

your face level                     with my neck
my neck level       with your mouth

almost like     being a teenager again
almost like            a giving in

when you put your hand on my face
I do not move                your eyes are closed

the only thing speaking is your hand
the slow circle of your fingers

do we all have an ex we can’t forget
not the one               that got away
but the one who left
not the one               that left for good
but the one who stays just out of reach
your thumb circling my jaw
can you feel my body humming
underneath your fingers
I know I know             that’s just me
romanticising you again

I know your patterns
I know how this goes

maybe we have nothing
to talk about anymore

do we all have someone        we can’t forgive
your hands
your hands in the night.

Franz Marc’s Blue Horses

I step into the painting of the four blue horses.
I am not even surprised that I can do this.

One of the horses walks toward me.
His blue nose noses me lightly. I put my arm
over his blue mane, not holding on, just
commingling.
He allows me my pleasure.
Franz Marc died a young man, shrapnel in his brain.
I would rather die than explain to the blue horses
what war is.
They would either faint in horror, or simply
find it impossible to believe.
I do not know how to thank you, Franz Marc.
Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually.
Maybe the desire to make something beautiful
is the piece of God that is inside each of us.
Now all four horses have come closer,
are bending their faces toward me
as if they have secrets to tell.
I don’t expect them to speak, and they don’t.
If being so beautiful isn’t enough, what
could they possibly say?

– Mary Oliver

Love Poem

I want to write you
a love poem as headlong
as our creek
after thaw
when we stand
on its dangerous
banks and watch it carry
with it every twig
every dry leaf and branch
in its path
every scruple
when we see it
so swollen
with runoff
that even as we watch
we must grab
each other
and step back
we must grab each
other or
get our shoes
soaked we must
grab each other

– Linda Pastan

The Whistler

“You can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that’s okay, love is better.”

All of a sudden she began to whistle. By all of a sudden
I mean that for more than thirty years she had not
whistled. It was thrilling. At first I wondered, who was
in the house, what stranger? I was upstairs reading, and
she was downstairs. As from the throat of a wild and
cheerful bird, not caught but visiting, the sounds war-
bled and slid and doubled back and larked and soared.

Finally I said, Is that you? Is that you whistling? Yes, she
said. I used to whistle, a long time ago. Now I see I can
still whistle. And cadence after cadence she strolled
through the house, whistling.

I know her so well, I think. I thought. Elbow and an-
kle. Mood and desire. Anguish and frolic. Anger too.
And the devotions. And for all that, do we even begin
to know each other? Who is this I’ve been living with
for thirty years?

This clear, dark, lovely whistler?

– Mary Oliver

Remind Me

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Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that’s late,
it is my song that’s flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it’s done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

– Stanley Kunitz

The Way

The way you love someone is to lightly run your finger over that person’s soul until you find a crack, and then gently pour your love into that crack.

– Keith Miller

Planet of the Apes

If there is a designated point at which return
becomes of no return, so far is how far

I am always beyond it.
We sit in the rain of your ancient hangover

and I tell you the story about my dead dad
who spent his sixteenth year digging a giant hole

in a field in Liverpool and never said why (perhaps)
…. I love you.

I love you in the jittering shade of a windmill.
I love you standing in the water wearing the river

like an invisible pair of shoes. I love you here
at the middle of your only life and almost gone

smoking beside your window, light drifting between us
like ghost sequins.

I’ve always never felt this way about anyone
but the way in which I’ve never felt about you

is a way of never feeling so new it’s somehow old
like a cave painting of a fax machine

or falling asleep in the attic of a spaceship.
You make me want to think of you in a sentence with me in it.

You make me want to find a collapsed mineshaft
I can call your name in while searching for you.

You make me want to tell you what you make me want
but what can I even say to you – riding a desk chair

through the afternoon like a patron saint
of remaindered office furniture.

I don’t know what it means
to walk each night into a field alone

and dig, until you are standing in a hole so deep
you cannot be seen above ground.

I don’t know what it means to fall asleep by your window
and wake, let’s say, with the illustrated guide to Planet of the Apes in my hand.

I don’t know what it means to wake each morning and love you
and say nothing, as if nothing

were honesty’s default, or maybe just a way
for me to avoid the stupid things I need to tell you like

looking at you is like looking at a beautiful person far away
through a telescope that makes you seem the size you almost are

which is something I mean but don’t understand
like the new hieroglyphs of songbrids

or how the world in which I am saying this to you
is slowly receding

that looking at you is like looking
backwards out the window of a slow-moving helicopter

into the nineteenth-century cornfield of your face
which my historical inaccuracy

has suddenly emptied of birds.
You make my life feel the size of itself.

You make my life a burning craft
on some distant and unintended hillside.

…. you are the pale green arm
of the Statue of Liberty

reaching up through miles of sand

 

The Durable Fire

Despite the shit we put each other through –
and even though the trap of your teeth
snapped at my throat as the withering flash
of your anger fired and fell again
and again and I bent my head down beneath
that bitter rain – still I felt
the days that lengthened with you more precisely
themselves than I had ever imagined.
Through the deep rage that distorted our bodies;
through hurt, betrayal, the difficult truths
in search of some myth that might prove more
durable to our selves than each other –
still you step to this page’s bare panopticon,
belovèd, contemptuous of ruin.

The Willow Bends

So long the dragonfly has risen from its deep,
the mouse from its labour, the vole from its sleep,
the girl from her texting, the worm from its sheep,
the king from his castle and the castle from its keep,

And I know what news you are bearing,
your sob at my ear wearing
the shape of her body in the earth’s cold springs –
but even there I hear a broken voice, singing

Peonies

In the room where evening comes on
and language loosens on the tip
of the tongue we tap into the sound
of its roots seeking the dark
and the song of the dark
with nothing to hold to but the flower
of the soul with its soul together
when you say something I don’t hear
looking for it in the brief pause
your words like water on petals
in the dark of the space that bends
back to what you were saying
the azure eye of it forever blossoming
in the low voice that love talks in

– Rachael Boast