Want

She wants a house full of cups and the ghosts
of last century’s lesbians; I want a spotless
apartment, a fast computer.  She wants a woodstove,
three cords of ash, an axe; I want
a clean gas flame.  She wants a row of jars:
oats, coriander, thick green oil;
I want nothing to store.  She wants pomanders,
linens, baby quilts, scrapbooks.  She wants Wellesley
reunions.  I want gleaming floorboards, the river’s
reflection.  She wants shrimp and sweat and salt;
she wants chocolate.  I want a raku bowl,
steam rising from rice.  She wants goats,
chickens, children.  Feeding and weeping.  I want
wind from the river freshening cleared rooms.
She wants birthdays, theaters, flags, peonies.
I want words like lasers.  She wants a mother’s
tenderness.  Touch ancient as the river.
I want a woman’s wit swift as a fox.
She’s in her city, meeting
her deadline; I’m in my mill village out late
with the dog, listening to the pinging wind bells, thinking
of the twelve years of wanting, apart and together.
We’ve kissed all weekend; we want
to drive the hundred miles and try it again.
 
 
 
 
 

Joan Larkin, "Want" from Cold River: Poems. Copyright © 1997 by Joan Larkin. Reprinted by permission of Joan Larkin.
Source: Cold River: Poems (Painted Leaf Press, 1997)