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The Beloved

ISSUE:  Summer 2002

I wrote this fine glossy poem
about how the true beloved is always ineffable,
the one at the palace window
when the purple light of storm astounds the forest,
the one whose touch is the breeze of April,
the one with breasts of pearl swaying
urgent toward the mouth of dream,
cloud-sister of Grace Kelly,
always finally that one in azure kimono

and never the contingent one who flosses
and collides with you in the kitchen
and wants forever to lose five pounds
and notices the smell of your sneakers
and remembers guys with stronger arms.
I wrote the poem and felt kind of brave
and rather ineffable myself
and I kind of saw Apollo in the mirror

so then I published the poem in a smooth journal
dedicated to the Other World that words can make —
world, or only a superb hotel? —

so then my wife reads the poem
and she looks at me: her gray-green eyes
moving in those subtle motions that eyes make
when they’re anxious to see something true.
Looking into her eyes then I feel
not like a bad husband really but like a guy
half an inch shorter than he thought
whose poem didn’t have the guts to be complicated.


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