I write you this because, to your surprise
perhaps, I have grazed through your poems
as a chance visitor to your room might, noting
a pair of green slippers dropped beside the bed
and a half-finished letter on the desk—
which I have read. From such clues I can guess
that you allowed yourself to be interrupted,
and why you walked outside, and where. I know
something about your habits, how you touch
the words you choose, which edges you have crimped,
those which you’ve not been able to unbalance.
I know more than you want me to, perhaps,
about what you are obsessed by, whether you
have ravished your desire or been flung back;
I've read the sayings that you call your own,
the ways you take to try to make them ours.
You might not think that you were spied upon,
but take my word, at least, that I was here
when you were out. And found you in, at home.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 6 Number 10, on page 63
Copyright © 2022 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com