Eight years, Fred, is a long time.
I don't know if I can love you again,
- if that answers your question,
- if I'm ready.
I might again grow used to your absence,
simple as an egg I fry on Monday morning.
It would not tick and chime with a clock in the hallway,
would not scratch or whine to be let in or out.
Sometimes there is a swirl of names,
the five Johns, two Davids,
the Roberts and Bills mixed up
with all the names that don't duplicate themselves.
There can be no apology for laughter,
because I no longer find it practical to sit up nights
writing poems to men I've met in motel lobbies
or on the steps of basement apartments.
That was long ago and men I might have known are dying in the city.
I've named my dreams
and dreamed of a few angels
I was lucky enough to spend a night with.
The mistake was to love men whose mouths went dry,
who placed their hands in their pockets
and squeezed secrets bigger than their hearts.
You thought love was a party on Friday night,
but it may just as well be the ache of a winter marsh,
--the mud cold and slick again,
--the trees stark and simple,
----suns and moons, seasons of rain,
----buzzard-shudders at the finding of food.
The world has come to several bad ends.
I am alone here and frightened.
There is no one to blame, not even you, Fred.
This quarrel is a vagrant storm.
Seeing you I grow thick with life, a migrant shadow
hungry with a great appetitite,
--the pale cold predicament of instinct.
I'd say we all hide in our various terrors,
----our inconsistent hearts.
I can pretend that I have this much choice.