by david harbilas

    I would wish minor miseries on you
    if I had the power: in the morning's
    cup of coffee the quick turn of milk
    into a curdled mass, annoying as
    a stiff hair under the tongue.

    The morning after we made love, you paused
    for an instant, while dressing. The thin fingers
    of a wire hanger lured you into the dark
    space between your clothes in the closet,
    and you jumped when I laid an affectionate hand

    on your shoulder. How delightful now
    is such news. I could be that silence
    on the other end of your telephone,
    the shadow outside the door whose shape
    you don't recognize. Instead

    I keep myself at a distance, among the vague shapes
    of grieving, a word
    a good poet wouldn't use
    at times like these.

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