This One’s for You

By Jan Heller Levi b. 1954
Even if you didn’t have green eyes (in the bathtub, blue).
Even if you didn’t have a lovely singing voice,
            or care for Alexandrine champagne
            some slow Saturday evenings to sing it through,
it pleases me, your lips close to my ear,
            or when you’re a big girl, and I’m a big girl too.
Five years difference between we two.
Sometimes it hardly matters. I’ve decided to worship you,
            Diana, goddess of the forest—
            or is she the one of the hunt?
            Who cares? You remind me of her
too. Some woman caught me up, breathless, in her strong arms,
            said breathe, darling. Her eyes were green-blue.
Vague resemblances: that’s the daily news.
Meaning: I’m willingly a fool for you
            any hour past midnight,
            and almost anytime in three-quarter view.
            Consider this, too: stumbling back, after a fight,
to someplace we could call home, you and I have been known
            to duet a jubilee so funky it sounds like the blues.
What steady arrows you shoot, Diana, become
a goddess of the hearth: you whisper
            time to put the porchlight on,
            and we do. Who am I talking to?
What is this strange glare, this prescience that you won’t be true?
Sometimes you say something like even so, boo,
and it sounds like breathe, darling. That’s why this one’s for you.

Jan Heller Levi, “This One’s for You” from Once I Gazed at You in Wonder. Copyright © 1999 by Jan Heller Levi. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Source: Once I Gazed at You in Wonder (Louisiana State University Press, 1999)

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Poet Jan Heller Levi b. 1954

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Love, Romantic Love, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Music, Mythology & Folklore

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza


Poet Jan Heller Levi was born in New York City and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and is the author of the poetry collections Once I Gazed at You in Wonder (1999), which received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Skyspeak: Poems (2005). Conversational and intimate, Levi’s poems often address familial concerns and aspects of a woman’s life. Alice Fulton . . .

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SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Music, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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