I would say that I have shown you
(I do not need much to live by)
that I opened to you, moonflowered
(and corpse white), that I climbed
over body after body through the dusk
(that you were cold)—
I would weep, I would grind and rend, I would
say this (that I was desperate)
but I must hold you at arms’ length
(to hold you at all).
and you frame the door
(of my house)
in my first memory of you
(my lapse, my penumbra)
when I made tea, and you sat at my table
(the small hours, the wingspan of the dark)
and we listened for the whistle
(heads turning, a single ear).
(What is devotion if not
the same night a cabbie asked
if I was a human being
(that I should have said no)
that we sprawled in my skull
watching owls dive
(my arms spreading, my headboard half-lit)—
it dawned, it dove, it took me up
that I would never be free of you.
Michael is a graduate student studying mental health who often daydreams about being a poet instead.