I wanted to have the baby. I wanted to feed it
lye from my breasts. I wanted to raise it
Catholic, swaddled, blank.
Left beneath the oak tree, never
minded. Like a mother I baked
the bread: round, full.
Glutted myself on the taste
I drew the ellipse around your name.
This one, only.
Then the dark was too clear
and too perfect
and I saw it as it was,
another chain to
There must be a finite limit to our love,
he said. But I could not draw it on a napkin,
doodled in the margins of crumbs and stains,
nor could he join the points of the graph,
which we’d once thought carefully plotted. If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe he had quoted,
standing astride the genesis of our cosmos,
our Big Bang: the yellow bedsheets, the atoms
of oxygen swirling through arteries and hearts.
Now he sees boundaries where had been promise: A universe expands only so far before collapsing.
We are not scientists, mathematicians of love
who have committed the natural laws to memory;
we’re theorists who have yet to scratch
the correct formula across the paper towels
and x-axes of our lives,
They tell you you’re not in love, but you are.
Isn’t it terrible? To love so selfishly, so
completely, is the opposite of love, they say.
But you know the truth.
It is all there is.
You think you know death, but you don’t.
You’ve read all the books, studied your Plath
and Goethe and the BrontÃ«s that matter,
but not from beneath the heavy blanket of sorrow.
You believe you won’t live to see 30
but that your father will live forever,
his Superman heart racing on.
But it will stop. You still
grieve for lost moments
without knowing why.
You are not unhappy, not yet.
That will come in time. Breathe
now, while you are invincible.
While there is nothing
Like a sailor I will chart a course
across your brow, its fine lines, creases
I have loved before I knew how to find
you, how to look to the stars and see
where I belong: between Orion and Cassiopeia,
the space where neck meets jaw
and constellations beget lights