Today's poem is by Derick Burleson

Late Valentines


My darling I have imagined you dead,
or worse, dying in my arms, a tragic
victim of the gods' cataclysmic magic,
the eternal scissors grazing your thread

with an icy misstep and a long fall
or the city chimneys' subtle poison,
or a murderer paroled from prison,
secondhand smoke, a stray shard of shrapnel.

And so tonight I touch your face and pray
the three sisters will kill us together,
fusing our molecules into one slow dance,

in death as in breath, cold choice and hot chance
tuning our voices to the tornadic weather
it takes to love long and perish each day.


Today on our walk you turned your ankle.
And that was no small thing, the pain you felt,
clouds across the sun, a shadow to foretell
storms of pain to come. Oh, the acute angles

our bodies make in love, elbow and knee,
rib and hip, shoulder blade and collarbone.
How can I forgive that numb, random stone,
the years, (if we survive), those aches we'll feel?

If this were the last rhyme I ever write,
what should my hands choose to fabricate?
They'd spin straw into gold to bribe the fates,
stitch a bright charm against the sprain of night,

and weave one last tapestry of our tears,
so we can ache another ten thousand years.


The week you turned thirty-five your father
died, and I can think of no easy way
to say that: He went to sleep and never
woke up. What was he dreaming? Now today

it's your birthday. I wanted to build you
a white house with a green picket fence. I
wanted to build a trellis and bring you
a fresh rose. I wanted to give you — I

wanted to say that your father is still
dreaming, that heaven is whatever we dream
when we sleep in the house, which has and will
continue to settle into what we become.

I wanted to give you not was but is.
Love, all I could build to give you is this.

Copyright © 2007 Derick Burleson All rights reserved
from Never Night
Marick Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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