At some point it becomes true that all stories
are love stories. all making, love making.
I didn’t make this rule. but it binds me
all the same. I wish there were a law
against condescending against love. against
the economy of fear that says your joy
means less joy for me as if love
were pie, or money, or fossil fuel
dug or pumped from the earth, gone
when it’s gone. it’s just not true. the heart
with its gift for magnificent expansion
is not coal. not fruit set to spoil or the dollar
cringing in its wallet. when you say darling,
the world lights up at its edges. when mouths
find mouths and minds follow or minds find
minds and mouths, hands, hips, toes, follow –
how about you call that sacred. how about you raise
your veined right hand and swear on the blood
that branches there, yes. I take this crush
to be my lawful infatuation. I will bend toward joy
until the bending’s its own pleasure. I will memorize
photographs and street maps, I will acquiesce
to the maudlin urgency of pop songs and dance,
and dance – there’s a perfection only the impossible kiss
possesses. there are notes you can only hear naked
in the dark of a room to which you will never
return. anything that moves the world toward light
is a blessing. why not take it with both hands,
lift it to your lips like a broth of stars. this
is the substance that holds our little atoms together
into bodies. this sweet paste of longing
is all that binds us to the earth.
and all we know of the gods.
leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
you make him call before
he visits. you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.