Can love you for
your corrugated eyes, the feel
of your hand on my arm,
where the music, skipping, repeated the same bits about love for an hour
while we drank the same cup of coffee very slowly and I imitated
someone I'd heard on the bus: "she sent her little brother
round to get the money, yes, her little brother, six foot four
and two hundred forty pounds, I left the money at my parents,
I just didn't need that"?
He said we must love one another and die.
I said I won't die at all. Does this mean
I forget your mottled hands and torn-off nails,
(too strange for there ever to be
more than one of you or me)?
Forget your jumbled teeth on my name?
I ask because I have never forgot you entirely.
Yet if I love you he says I will die. If that's true,
I take some satisfaction in knowing:
(you who first foretold our situation and its duration (hardier and
more profitable than weeds)
and yet no matter what you may take into your
resilent and ruthless heart
(the turbine that might power my greatest light)
it is of no significance, for your heart
is disconnected from your active body. Your role
is a dream from which you are sure
I will wake up. I say I am awake. There is always
a stair without a railing that, lightheaded, I
stumble against without your hand on my arm)
you'll die too.