We stand there in our vestibule, me clutching
my car keys, you, your suitcase,
me about to recite the names of apples,
winesap, braeburn, etc., the way poets
recite them, then to chant the names
of poets, too, anything you’ll listen to,
stanzas of lightning from red mouths.
It isn’t loveliness I’m after, I can tell you,
it’s any damn thing that keeps your hand
from pushing that door open. Though you’re
long gone already. And I know it’s wrong,
when the heart has stopped, to pretend it hasn’t.
Like a taxidermist. No, we’re mixed up
with time, my Love, and poetry, as usual,
fails to stop you. You have to go away,
and you may not be back.
I eat one of the apples in your memory,
like a pioneer who’s down to eating seed corn,
the sweet-sour juices running into a future
without you, while a voice tells me
I don’t own you, you were a gift, and
my barbaric unteachable mother heart doesn’t get it,
thinks, okay, fine, so you’re gone now,
you’re that much closer to coming back.