The Book Life

I Promise

April 8, 2011
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How did you measure my promise to you?
The law said I gave up nothing, just words
in the air, unenforceable.
You looked sad, driving out of the courthouse lot.
I watched you go.

I measured your promises to me
in the number of times
I cleaned my hair out of your drain,
in the length of my leg with your hand on it
(it got longer, then).

But we never made the real exchange,
gave our word, signed the line,
we showed very little
consideration. We were considerate.
Well, you were; and I tried to be.

How do you measure the lack of my promise?
The real question. Was there breath withheld,
the crossing or legs or fingers?

I measured the lack of your promise to me
in the weekly phone calls
and the weak tugging the produced,
beneath my ribs, a softening of the edges
I accumulate, so gentle it’s not even painful.

I am still measuring.

A quiet reminder that maybe,
we could have held love,
but we made no promises.
And where can love live
outside the walls of the promise, all untethered?

Cheating today with some minor revisions to a poem from a few months ago. I tried two poems today. They were terrible. This is better.

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