You go from me
In June for months on end
To study equanimity
Among high trees alone;
I go out with a new boyfriend
And stay all summer in the city where
Home mostly on my own
I watch the sunflowers flare.
You travel East
To help your relatives.
The rainy season's start, at least,
Brings you from banishment:
And from the hall a doorway gives
A glimpse of you, writing I don't know what,
Through winter, with head bent
In the lamp's yellow spot.
To some fresh task
Some improvising skill
Your face is turned, of which I ask
Nothing except the presence:
Beneath white hair your clear eyes still
Are candid as the cat's fixed narrowing gaze
—Its pale-blue incandescence
In your room nowadays.
Without much noise or fuss
We left the kitchen where he sat,
And suddenly we find
He happens still to be with us,
In this room now, though firmly faced away,
Not to be left behind,
Though all the night he'll stray.
As you began
You'll end the year with me.
We'll hug each other while we can,
Work or stray while we must.
Nothing is, or will ever be,
Mine, I suppose. No one can hold a heart,
But what we hold in trust
We do hold, even apart.
Thom Gunn, "In Trust" from Boss Cupid. Copyright © 2000 by Thom Gunn. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.
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Source: Boss Cupid
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000)