from the poet to his mistress This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 6, 2010
My love, you are not solid under me:
your body is composed of points of light
and empty space where the hot flesh should be.
You move too quickly in my creaking sight
for me to understand that what I see
as a flock of birds in noisy flight--

slices of movement opening, like flight
reduced to skin's shiver-- what looks to me
like separate dreams-- is something I should see
as continuing through each shift of light
over its surfaces, not as a sight
that will vanish and shortly after be

replaced by a view, which, though it might be
built from similar stuff-- the curve of flight,
the paleness of cheek-- is not the sight
of the heartbeat before. And so for me
to sew from scraps of living liquid light
a translation of your soul I can see

whole and unbroken is difficult. See
then that I am doing my best to be
a mirror for you, to give back the light
that you shed lovingly, in this sweet flight
of fancy where the world is you and me
and you are beauty, and I am the site

of your flowering: and forgive my sight
its incompleteness. I ask you to see
that I am yours, for this hour. Pity me,
if no, I cannot honor you and be
also suspended in this dying light,
run through with the deep pains of promised flight;

I want to sing my way up a long flight
of joyful notes, and that to hold the sight
of you together in my mind, your lines of light,
takes all my thought, my sweat: this, you must see,
is like a burning in my bones-- to be
full of want and without words is, for me

a lonely hell, hollowed of flight and light.
Forgive me. To make a poem of this sight
would mean seeing only what you could be

(and oh but I would miss all that you are)





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