Prints of shadow under waiting eyes are naked bruises

where thumbs of love have ground impatience. Hands folded

                                                                                       like petals

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.