What am I to do with all the poems
where my father implored beauty
to reveal herself,
addressed her gallantly
like a jilted lover, rebuked her sharply,
hundreds of heroic couplets
willed to me, a language so fired and faceted
he might have been cutting glass?
An ache that is buoyant fire.
Fire in my heart and head,
an ache that will never tire
until I be dead.
A man imagines his affliction a ship
he is captain of — a mighty galleon he is sailing
out of the harbor,
past the bell buoys at their thankless chores,
the farthest beacons,
long years, widening latitudes.
The waves may rise before him,
the sky fill with lamentations, but he will weep louder.
If the lightning throws itself in his path,
he will thrust it aside,
steer his entire crew safely home.
But, no, suffering is just a boat large enough for one,
a patched-up centerboard,
a single sail,
a difficult crossing.