Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Elements of Style,
And an unsent postcard from Gros Ventre
That says “A-OK!”

101 Essential Hiking Tips,
Three Missouri travel guides,
And something called Beyond the Tetons!--that card’s rocky sunset again.

From Shakespeare to Existentialism,
And a history of peace activists,
Along with that novel about the mass murderer
You wanted me to read.

The Quickening of America,
The Design of Cities,
All texts I keep moving,
Tracing who you wanted to be.

Not the girl of 27, 583 ways
To make me laugh,
Able to set the world right
With a point of her finger.

Not the queen of bar trivia,
Or the emperor of the honest answer,
Patiently waiting while I flail
Through all the wrong words.

Those royal metaphors
Like the crown of thorns
You never asked for
But wouldn’t remove.

A martyr not simply by choice
But caught in some philosophical wasteland,
An expedition guide who’d lost count of the bodies,
An aesthete tortured by shame—

Burrowing through your heart,
Allowing no peace…
Like the calm that fell over me
With a brush of your shoulder.