I wish we could control this revolting
want of control: these people
with their spongy eyes, their mouths
of trembling shoehorns, billhooks for penises
and bear traps for vulvas.
One taste of sunlight and at once
they can’t do without it. Water,
the same, and food, and air,
and a dozen other squalid habits.
Some—like their copulation,
a rusting carnation in a cut-glass neck—
are not physically compulsive but
the partners can’t stop wanting them to be:
so we desire to be raped
by love, who would fill us, they say,
with an oil from the lit braziers of stars.
What if, doing it every day,
we resemble pistons, and the slow poison
cuts our lives off at 70:
it’s the grim determination
of our passion. And beyond this, even I—
defended in childhood by my strong father
the piano and my mother the virtuoso
from knuckles among warehouses—even I
am addicted to the mild light of words.