“Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen . . .” —Isaiah 8:1
The night closed in; a starless sky, complete in nothing
but the end of day
and the end of me.
I had kept myself wholly at the disposal of all—
misrepresenting everything for you.
So when the lights dimmed to a candle flicker,
and our feet were wet with grassy dew,
I convinced even me that things remain forever unbalanced.
You tucked my hair behind my ear,
rested your hand not too long on my face,
told me that you can’t retreat from one plateau to the last
no matter how badly you wanted to.
And I didn’t believe you then
— don’t believe you now —
but something about the way you said it
made me desperately want to think it true.
This will be the longest winter
(I can feel it in my heart).
You promised me you were the one to place me on my pedestal
with a diadem of beauty,
to feed me dried nasturtiums with unheard of fervor
You offered me a kingdom of rose petals
that would never fade.
And I remain true to an ideal, not a reality.
What about your eyes
holds me in your grasp like plucked gardenias?
I lose myself in this effortless circle of right and
wrong, of truth and justice, of everything that is
yes and please and stop and more.)
Keeping your distance now;
a distance which has shaken your grip on my smile.
And I know my breaking heart is more of a burden than a concern.
Yet I remain an active participant in the wonder of you
(although this kingdom we’ve constructed has turned to glass).
If “I love you” is the only adhesive
binding us together,
then I deny those words, and all emotional wood-work
built upon such fashionable infatuation.
My cowardice hangs with the stars
variable in their distance (my lack of strength, my lack of “no”).
And although I love your hands,
the way they tell me I am beautiful,
Their unworthiness prevails and sustains them despite
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