Prints of shadow under waiting eyes are naked bruises
where thumbs of love have ground impatience. Hands folded
hold back fear. All the people going by remind me of others known
back home, or somewhere, as if I'd met Everybody in the World
one time or another, polite, by a river--They look in, with pity
as if they knew something. But no one does.
Someone ought to tell that lady not to wear those argyle socks.
Someone ought to tell that those orderlies not to bang the door.
I ought to think of you less often. I should pray more.
Forgive all this. I brought asters from my garden
but left them by our bed, wilting. Stepped on your foot
upset the drinks, and the blossoms snickered.
I was thinking that I grew up like brambles, thrashed around
wild, uncultivated, ungraceful. River images rose up
because I'd been reading Lorca, dreaming blood--
a bitter cup. You were always unintended, a gift
sent by a stranger, as if that stranger knew
I'd need your touch.
You are sudden notes of whistled song, or rain
that slips into the river with a gentle hush--
now here, now gone.