It wants to be dark, lavish
and exact: carved wet slate
bedded in an argument of peat.
With the precision of a fetishist
it fastens on detail: the thick veins
in your throat, the crooked line
of an eyebrow, the crook of an arm —
a tender dismemberment.
It wants to address one eccentric soul,
but always comes back to the physical.
It wants to be personal and minute,
but only pays its keep when it succumbs
to the universal: effacing the dear
Sir or Madam addressed,
it scatters its fondness to an audience.
The poem knows it is an act
of violence; and it resents the fact.
It is always, finally, about the I
and not the you. You are a dim
memory fleshed into the present tense.
You are my lover. You are a woman
I saw on the bus six months ago,
brushing her hair back with your hand.