I never longed for my virginity.
I heard it on the radio after the hurricane.
There, in the aftermath, was the voice of a man—
once the sweet, screwed-up boy whose hooded,
jessed spirit I tried to possess with the ruthlessness
I mistook for power. Here he was on NPR,
so gentle, so familiar with devastation,
his timbre woke the teenage falconer in me
who once saw his kindness as weakness,
saw a boy as an unfledged goshawk—
a creature to trap and be trapped with
in darkened mews. I knew the rules:
neither of us could sleep until the molting bird
grew ravenous enough to take the raw mouse
from my hand. Breaking the falcon
broke us both, left us scared
and less aware of love than fear.
We meet midway to walk white cobbles
under a fish-flesh gray sky.
Europe is collapsing; we are collapsing
always and again no matter how hard
we love one another. I don’t understand
our failure, where the feed loops
back and spits us into another country,
another junior suite reenacting this same,
same beat of a scene that begins, rises,
never ends, always ends?—
Our intentions don’t meet,
their courses set differently
by a force you don’t believe in,
could be as simple as life. I want
to be the wife you don’t want.
You won’t let go of my wrist.
I resist, threaten, bully, acquiesce.
We write the next act of The Alchemist
in New York, Lisbon, a beach,
a bar, star-crossed maybe
from different galaxies. You approach,
I retreat. You retreat, I reproach.
The manic two-step jitters
over North Africa’s dunes
farther than our hero, Santiago, can see.
I rise in the night to find the sharp knife
that came with the pears as a courtesy.