It’s so easy to write to women,
Whom in the end I only use
For their beauty. To say,
Take this orange that I picked from a tree tonight.
It’s only what fragment I could sequester
From this night that incubated
Beneath your presence.
Now, take it back from the night itself—:
from what is yours.
And to give them this plucked thing,
Swollen with cracks and ripe
With over-ripening; to place it
In their palms and squeeze out
The still sweet, fermenting juices,
And then lift it to their mouths
To squeeze out there as well. It’s easy
Because distention is the image of beauty.
So I’ve thought love is like that:
A flower’s afterbirth.
And I’ve tried a long time now
To write you a love poem and couldn’t,
Even though it was all there between us:
When I was back in town
You said you were glad
Because you couldn’t talk to anyone else
About what had happened.
For all the hours we spent together,
You still didn’t talk about it, and since then,
I’ve hardly called, already knowing what I’d say.
You see, it’s never been the telling,
But the being able to tell.
And love is not the giving,
Or even quite
The being able to give.
Love is the feeling of one hand closing
Fingers around this dry loam
So there is a place to take root
Even as the other lies outstretched
To receive it.