Some people will not open their mouths
to one another even when they kiss
and others need to push people
to act against their will
and some people
need to be coerced to do everything
begging only to be pushed around.

When people won’t tell you what they are doing
don’t you want to say things very differently
as if to prompt a response of which they are incapable.

Now I am counting on my fingers for the time to pass
and calling forth each of you by your right names.

Glancing at the wall where you smile young and lovely
your body composed in water and air
I imagine the tissue as it changes to a jelly

fueling the insubstantial presence
I unavoidably recall or address, however partially

and cannot trust, suffering your absence
living still at a distance no knowledge can bridge
across which no conversation can occur,

feeling as one who talks to himself in a bizarre context,
hoping to utter something that has not been predicted
to hear your voice again saying what you now think.

Now I have searched through her possessions,
know why she has come here
and what she intends.

Now I know her smell,
the unnecessary objects
she carries for protection,

why she has not told me certain things
it would be hard to believe.

Your amazing questions
cause holes in the air
to appear out of nowhere

as do targets in a shooting gallery
and summon disbelief
in each particular of my understanding,

a terrible truth one
wishes only to destroy,

like hornets before my face
regarded with a wholly doomed studiousness
and the fascination of a child:

that it is happening to me,
that it is happening now.

From A Book of Romance