Absolution, duet (poem)

Shame is only worth feeling if there is blame.
No one learns all there is to know of themselves
over a lifetime,
much less all there is to someone else.
You can try.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t work.
It doesn’t mean that sometimes,
you didn’t know me better than anyone else.
This last time, you reminded me of things
I forgot and needed to know.
Darling (you are) if I am crushed by our failures of mutual trying,
if I am not the rock I imagined,
then I am going to stop being ashamed of
how long I’ve wallowed in the crushing
if you will agree– you loved me better than
anyone else has so far.
If my tears moisten the aggregate and
rock-dust that’s left in the rubble,
I won’t feel ashamed that I forgot for a while
that the Romans used concrete to build roads.

Roads we use for new journeys, even if we look back.

There was also an incredible excerpt from a poem called “Middle-aged” at the very end of this article about the FSG editor Jonathan Galassi that reads:

all of a sudden he took
an unwarranted turn — im-
pulsive, convulsive…
And it ends this way:
He has not been forgiven,
not that he wants to be.
What he wants is to know
what he saw, that it was-
n’t theatrics.

I don’t know what I think about forgiveness, because I worry about theatrics on my part, even as I think, all these months later– yes.  I will mix all those worries and convictions into the concrete and see where the road takes me.


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