Monday, April 5, 2010

"Love Song (Sycamores)" by Dan Chiasson

Love Song (Sycamores)

Stop there, stop now, come no closer,
I said, but you followed me anyway.
You made a bed for us in the woods.
There were sycamore boughs overhead.

Stop there. Stop now. I calculated that
the number of birds singing
on any given morning
was a function of the sycamores plus my hangover.

I said, Stop there, but you followed me
even when I tore our bed to pieces,
I did that, I brought anger into the bower
and the sycamores became menacing shoulders.

And the birds cried, scared, a little embarrassed.
And we paced back and forth, under
the menacing shoulders of the sycamores.
The birds made nests inside our heads.

When you held my fist between your two hands,
I pretended to be subdued. But then
I opened my fist easily
and scattered your strength all over the bower.

When you ran towards me, I said, Stop there,
stop now, you'll end up
in a stranger's life
; and when you ran away
I said the same words over again, louder.

(Dan Chiasson, from Natural History, 2007 Knopf)

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