I’ll look for you at that place between the dirty

flame of evening, it’s temple to oblivion,

and the milky solution of dawn

where extremes meet and get to know

each other all over. There are lips there

that fit together, silk sky touching

coarse waves. There’s a field there

where the grass is too full

of reflections of the world to talk about.

Ideas, words, phrases like “each other”—

some pattern of permanence

in all that rush and loss?


Your crescent blush made me think

of mealtime, candied kisses on the teeth,

the incessantly efflorescent pungent

bouquet. Is love to be understood

beyond the study of frivolity,

the study of hypocrisy

if there’s no such thing?

Is the raw material of divinity

all that’s left to work with?

It’s time to give up on my brain.

If you think this is a good way to improve

your heart or your mind, sleep on.


Stephen Massimilla

Massimilla’s book, The Plague Doctor in His Hull-Shaped Hat, was selected in the Stephen F. Austin University Press Prize contest. He has received the Bordighera Poetry Prize, the Grolier Prize, a Van Rensselaer Award, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and multiple Pushcart Prize nominations.

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