For Peter Fagan
Into my hand the stars poured light
and I knew you,
or so I thought.
There was no way for you to know my world of darkness
and silence, but you persisted with your
questions, probing my different mind.
The dog knew
simply to press all of himself into my palm –
tongue, tail and paw were there even as I tried to touch
him lightly as cobwebs.
But you shook language
in my face and asked me to dance syntax
with you. I followed your lead, dark dancer,
and if you could have seen what I knew
through this touch, we would have made one great mind!
The night I dressed, took my valise, and quietly
moved down the stairs guided only by
knowledge of your presence in me, Alabama
again was a place to fly from.
Alone on my sister’s front porch,
without Teacher, the scent of tea olive lingering, your promise
faded into morning’s traffic, a rumble from the street
I turned back, letting loss, only loss,
guide me. Not to be yours,
Helen, not to be yours, this day.