I’m vexed with myself tonight
that I, fitful tiller of words,
cannot write you a poem,
warm as your ironing-board,
well-shaped like your finest vase,
which should tell everlastingly your truth
clear like any ordinary morning
when the smog lifts to wide-open skies.
What is your truth, or what is love?
Where you move without ripple in my blood,
there the clods of deep little hurts –
oh, forgiven, nameless in memory,
and yet, without my conscious intent,
let to grow like thorny touch-me-nots
and rankly creep with tiny purple eyes
to demean me darkly in my sight.
How their bramble cut my soul
where I would not look to save myself!
Why do I struggle toward your truth?
Where words and words swirl about,
dust in my speech, without power
to trace their meaning in my blood,
I coax like a conscientious gardener
from dead clods their hurtful bloom,
then look upon my soul’s wildness
that you had loved, and strain
from our days’ erasure of worship,
syllable by syllable,
the struck bliss and dazzle
of our secret ‘book of embraces.’