I say, we all start with love—or we could not start at all.
And you say, but what can this mean to the stalled and half-starved?
An abstraction, a bromide, a cipher, a dirge? You say,
there are a billion failed loves, and each fallen bloom is uniquely flawed.
I say, but surly a common cure awaits the patient many;
for there are already too many remedies for the choosing patient.
And you turn away disheartened if not in disgust from my general reading.
But I run to you, and beg for your time. Tell me, I plead,
what are your beginnings? I will listen, unprimed, I promise.
And you say, you witnessed intimacy as through a split in a plank,
which for you was a shard of light driven through the palm of your heart.
A bright spike you still bear like some botched bequest.
If we start with love, you say, it was a gift rumoured but long deferred.
Long you’ve spent clutching your souvenir waiting for a thrown bouquet.
Too long in abandoned cars and empty lots and strange streets;
waking under bridges, wading in dark waters—their icy murk part penance—
into a mythical unplumbed lake that keeps you fishing and daily catching,
only the double-bound beast of proffered affection with its hidden clause.
Tossed by troubles that toy their discovery, you now distrust a kindness.
You say, if you could name the scavenging gulls of affliction,
then you could kneel at the altar and wait for something to rise,
visible and tastable and touchable, out of the elements of ash and wine.
And upon the uncertainty of bleeding knees, a portrait of your worth may form.
And I say, we have this in common, my beautiful son,
we start with love’s wounds and spend our days seeking a fitting suture.