No semicolons. Semicolons indicate relationships that only idiots need
defined by punctuation. Richard Hugo
But it’s a reassuring logic that rivers freeze
because your hemisphere has rolled away from the sun,
that cities rest because there must be time for resting.
I could never deny it, or disown my desire
for the certainty of home, for mills and reservoirs
I always come back to. I’m thinking of a girl
pinning butterflies through her bangs, the first woman
I ever asked to marry me. She was slight and strange;
her brother lived in England, and was dying there.
Years after our split, she and I met in an open-air restaurant
crowded with chatter and cigarettes. I was still very young,
still afraid of being abandoned at the terminal.
She no longer ate; she had lost teeth and some hair,
she said. There were pale islands of skin
where the butterflies had perched. The waiter came around
to refill our coffee, a phone was ringing, and fifty feet away
streetcars jostled like dusk nudging against darkness;
even between those two there are gangways:
movable bridges ship-to-shore, small therefores.
Copyright © 2012 James Arthur
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.