“We shall be known by the delicacy of where we stop short.”

—Robert Frost


Forgive me if I haven't been honest

enough. The proof's in the poems,


those corner cobwebs snapping

under the shifting of my mind, my tongue.


They will not bear the weight

of some truths, dark and lovely.


Could I have led you to believe

I was an awful child? In the booth,


I was always tempted to tell the priest

sins I wish I had committed.


Do you think I gave in? Restraint

is overrated, and no reader wants


a litany of our loyalties to the actual.

Should I say that we crossed


one intersection after another,

never knowing when to stop short


of disaster? Look, I could be there, perched

on a telephone pole. I'd prefer


the view from that kind distance.

I am learning mercy from a poet


who respects the line, who knows

when to continue, knows when


to brave severance. He cradles

words in white spaces, clouds


of relief, letting them breathe. If only

we could hold each other like that.

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