In our first days together, how could I say
I saw the faces of those I loved fading away—
Their eyes, tears, and mouths blurred—
While I stood rooted in a foreign place?
I wasn’t ready to speak a word.

Above reproach, you were the one I wanted
To reproach. In blossom, tulip trees planted
Along the street provided little shade,
For no escape from the sun was granted.
They seemed to mock what we’d made.

For months—and more—while the nights
Stayed humid under the city’s million lights,
I watched a fan stir the air
Above our bed, cooling my skin to ice.
We were a stiff and quiet pair.

The morning light was banked like snow
Against the house, and we rose somehow.
Nothing had changed.
Except your face—worn, stubbled—looked now,
At last, no longer strange.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 5 Number 8, on page 40
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