filled with crushed chalk. God save me
from the stars, once and for all—
I have had enough. Let me love anything
but that: let me go free and dream
of green oceans and the surf
that batters some other world to sleeplessness.
It is enough to whisper only
this. To speak to the flame in your breast
and hear nothing else. Once
I believed I could possess
what touched you: the worn sweater,
or the song on the radio
that meant nothing and all in that instant.
Against your door I pressed
my ear, and heard nothing, the whisper
of water, maybe, a breath of cool air—
the gossip of your absence—
and nothing in me could knock or wait,
and all around me the night
spread like water through a rag,
and I let my hands drop whatever they held.
—Paul Guest, Popular Romance