Three Poems

Theme and Variation

A frightened happiness went through him
now, and in secret, at the prospect of a different world
with her. He appeared the affronted loner,
but it was she who had never been loved or saved;
her rooms were immaculate.
He found the stars extravagant that winter,
and impossible to resist. Certain conditions prevailed
in his fine mathematical mind: time is fixed,
and ends are certain. Clarity and justice.
For her, every confrontation left a burnt place in creation,
fastening its moment in the ultimate heart
of things. But it kept multiplying what could never take place.
She fretted about all her hope running out, whereas he became
preoccupied with systems. The stars never change
their places, though what potential this afforded, he wondered.


The story has two endings.
It has one ending
and then another.
Do you hear me?
I do not have the heart
to edit the other out.

Chanson Douce

I hold a creamy little baby
to my chest. She assents to my embrace. I inquire
about my species: she has a look
of true, plain being.
She is need itself. Sucking. Crying.
Otherwise, her expression is basically
serious, and the devotion she summons, famously
brutal. Her mother would die for her,
the old, old story.
Part of me watches the rest of me being
anxious, superior, and invaded
by longing. These rank weeds spring up
beside a curious sense
of sequel. I remember it sharply now: a little
time ago, wishing I had something
new, and the strain of it
nearly killing me. There was
no deeper meaning.