Issue 126, Spring 1993
I don’t know what to say to you
and have called you names—mutilator of souls,
warden of dust, evocateur— that only placed me
at a disadvantage. I turn my sweet gaze
away and lose you, I fall in love with small
women selling curios, and come to in white rooms
high above the city to the sound of faint
music and a child crying. Why are the walls
rubbled and muddled like the walls of caves?
I forgot you at times, chased wounded birds
into the thickets, small, yellow-eyed hawks
and less important creatures, and it was
not only from despair that I stayed away
from your palaces: I came to love the woods
and the small declivities in which cool
water stood calmly as if sleeping.
I am afraid all the time but go on anyway;
I speak loosely, as one who was familiar
with grandeur, but it is in the simple
sadness of twilight that I am most useful;
it is there, as you have taught me,
that I can be appreciated as one for whom
the soft struggles of reason give way
to a shoddy but pleasing invention.
I hope that the carved sticks of my will,
broken so often and useless now, might appeal
to you, and these worn tales of romance,
these weasels and mice I have tracked
to their dens and befriended, won’t offend.
You are on my mind always these days,
always in the high cavities of the wind
I hear of you now; some say you are near,
they say it is as if no time has passed,
they say you were on your way all along.