Don’t think I’m unaware of your stalker eyes,
shifting like candles when the wick is low,
hot wax twisting knots along one side
when wind slams through the empty house,
December’s white-deal door blown wide.

Don’t think I think I dread to see your realm
of creaky silhouette and charred echo;
where the past is all one can look forward to,
and absence is the only thing seen clearly:
where speech is like breath held—let go.

Don’t think of me as one who’d try to run
were you to drape me in that ash-soft cloak,
leering through your hemlock-scented hair,
crooning with slick insinuation
that it’s my time to descend your spiral stair.

I’ll come willingly, wrapped in a sheet
of music from Orpheus’ fake book,
that tune he never got to play, saved
to celebrate when she reached open air.
You’ll hear me out. You’ll get no backward look.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 Number 3, on page 30
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