Tom, will you let me love you in your restaurant?
i will let you make me a sandwich of your invention and i will eat it and call
it a carolyn sandwich. then you will kiss my lips and taste the mayonnaise and
that is how you shall love me in my restaurant
Tom, will you come to my empty beige apartment and help me set up my daybed?
yes, and i will put the screws in loosely so that when we move on it, later
it will rock like a cradle and then you will know you are my baby
Tom, i am sitting on my dirt bike on the deck. Will you come out from the kitchen
and watch the people with me?
yes, and then we will race to your bedroom. i will win and we will tangle up
on your comforter while the sweat rains from our stomachs and foreheads
Tom, the stars are sitting in tonight like gumball gems in a little girl’s
jewelry box. Later can we walk to the duck pond?
yes, and we can even go the long way past the jungle gym. i will push you on
the swing, but promise me you’ll hold tight. if you fall i might disappear
Tom, can we make a baby together? I want to be a big pregnant woman with a
loved face and give you a squalling red daughter.
no, but i will come inside you and you will be my daughter
Tom, will you stay the night with me and sleep so close that we are one person?
no, but i will lay down on your sheets and taste you. there will be feathers
of you on my tongue and then i will never forget you
Tom, when we are in line at the convenience store can I put my hands in your
backpockets and my lips and nose in your baseball shirt and feel the crook
of your shoulder blade?
no, but later you can lay against me and almost touch me and when i go i will
leave my shirt for you to sleep in so that always at night you will be pressed
up against the thought of me
Tom, if I weep and want to wait until you need me will you promise me that someday
you will need me?
no, but i will sit in silence while you rage, you can knock the chairs down
any mountain. i will always be the same and you will always wait
Tom, will you climb on top of the dumpster and steal the sun for me? It’s just
hanging there and I want it.
no, it will burn my fingers. no one can have the sun: it’s on loan from god.
but i will draw a picture of it and send it to you from richmond and then you
can smooth out the paper and you will have a piece of me as well as the sun
Tom, it’s hot here and I think I’m being born. Will you come back from
Richmond and baptise me with sex and cool water?
i will come back from richmond. i will smooth the damp spiky hairs from the
back of your wet neck and then i will lick the salt off it. then i will leave
Tom, Richmond is so far away. How will I know how you love me?
i have left you. that is how you will know.
The Best of the Best American Poetry (Harold Bloom, Ed.)