Today gave me a vision
of what could have been; I saw
between all the mistakes
there in your home where
you & your children live:
an echo of
the lost future that could have been
life had treated us differently,
what we really wanted.
You found me at the worst possible time,
but only in the sense in which a dog-walker finds
a corpse in the woods:
It wasn’t your fault.
The words in this verse are replacing
the excuses I’d prepared for presentation:
words about falling, & nihilism &
other self-pitying bullshit trying
to play tragic…
but the truth
is never quite so ornate
as I’d like to make it…
I told you that I’d become a mistake.
But that doesn’t make it ok…
I remember you as
vulnerable insolence &
timorous intelligence but
I was too selfish to realise how
much attention you gave to my words &
how little you understood about my
compelled me to write a poem across
the inside of your left thigh
& I think
you found it charming.
That poem had been written for someone else…
Attention is the rarest & purest
form of generosity*: you
gave it to me
& I what did I
give back to you?
it wasn't that I didn't care
it was just that I hated everything…
is an attempt to apologise
for the ugliness
by replacing it
with failed attempt at elegance.
& that still doesn’t make it ok…
* Simone Weil