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You're thinking about a river and couldn't say why
Except that you're looking for something peaceful,
Fish and sunken coins, winding and warm
Like the folds between belly and thigh,
A river or a stream or a gully or anything
With which you might wash yourself,
Take your shirt off and then your socks,
Shorts, underwear, lay them along the banks
And you aren't even cold, the river wraps around you
Like a quilt as you wait for some sign,
For the stars to come out and fade again,
For winter, for God or someone like him,
For your mother and her mother and her mother,
Something that might watch over you
As you drift downstream, as the river opens
Into the ocean and the salt pulls the dirt
From your pores and seaweed streams
Between your toes and your forearms
Are lined with barnacles and mussels
Make a home in your hair and all of you
Is alive with life that does not belong to you,
Crabs dance along your belly, the stars
Come out and you are finally one of them,
Quiet and immense, an ocean of dust, the light
From your body has just reached the Milky Way,
Alpha Centauri, Epsilon Eridani, stars
And myths, iridescent and untouched
Though you have since faded, though it
Is no longer yours, though you have been gone
For a million million years.

This Is Not a Love Poem

Originally published in The Nassau Weekly

I don't know how I know that but I do. The way turtles
Return home to give birth. Not really like that.
The way you sometimes catch a baseball without
Meaning to. Instinct, but duller. At two or three
In the morning when you want everyone you've ever
Loved to miss you all at once. When you want to be
A tragedy or something like that. When my grandfather
Asks me what I will write at his funeral and then
Drinks when no one is watching. That kind of love.
Not much of a love, you say, but love is hardly ever much
Of itself. The kind of love that wants everyone
To stay awake until it can fall asleep. The kind
Of love that is no one's baby. That says, break my
Good china. I was throwing it all out anyway.

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