Chilled into September
I completed my education.
Autodidact of sorrows,Arranging my systems
In exquisite precision
I subjected themTo the test of tears.
They crumbled. In the ruins,
Half-sought, half-forgotten,Was a word shattered like a
China cup. The word was Love.
For years, shunningThe basking crowd,
I sought for the Good,
Read books and made notes.A woman – my wife –
Brought me food and listened:
My chin chafing my collarI informed her of the nature
Of things. As she closed the door
Her eyes were awash.I considered the facts briefly
But could find no explanation.
One night I started:I was reading Spinoza
When a thought like a knife
Turned in my brain,“How hateful
Is an abstract love.”
Longing for her hand,The shy hiss of her breath,
I ran downstairs
But she had gone.She had left a note –
“I, too, am human” –
Her suitcase had scuffed the hallway.Collapsed on the stairs,
Shaking the banisters like a child,
My tears melted her words.Overhead, swollen like tumours,
My books were suave, replete.
====================© August 1983