born to be mild


“may love not wound us (…)
may it burn in the pure air”
– Zbigniew Herbert, “Winter Gardens”

my god, Ainsleah,
it’s quiet tonight
as i breathe memory to life,
into your partial,
threadbare ghost.

each moment
into the long corridor,
vacant lung of morning.

whispered: i burn for you.

christ, but it’s not getting
any easier, Ainsleah,
and i know i’m making
you thin out of
air but i’ve
never written a real
love poem–let this be my
first: all this
time since we’re
finished, this aching
grows on: a freak
child / tumour /
silent mold on cellar
door.

oh, why can’t you hear
me, Ainsleah? my
powers falter, words
fail, frail at this
most crucial hour.

and i know, i know, i
know, i know, i know:
even if i said it
all, uttered the curse,
spelled it exactly right,
you’d still not
return.

Stan was in
hospital, and it
rattled me terrible, Ainsleah,
to see the young, strong
horse of a man confused and in
pain, collapse.

i’m gonna die,
aren’t I, Ainsleah,
without kissing you again.

say at least you love me,
or, “it’s impossible–we’re
impossible,”
or, “fuck off and die, McCann.”

sung: i’ve been awake since March.

and the ghost in your
name, she’s not
you, she’s not you, she’s
not you she
is.

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