The American on His First Honeymoon

What we can say has already been said
about each painting in the gallery—
about the quality of light, the way she holds her head.
So we are silent in the subway, silent in bed.
Our bodies too are mute; we fall asleep knowing
what we could say has already been said.
Over toast and coffee and the newspaper thoroughly read
the day unfolds between us. I am too weak to carry
this quality of light, the way she holds her head.
I would vow to leave if love had left
if this were the wedding of two gypsies.
But what should I say? It has been said
the dead would properly bury the dead
and here I am, alive at last and buried
by the quality of light, and the way she holds her head.
Perhaps women, sex, love are all over-rated.
Which of us is the artist and which the light? You see,
the words I might say have been better said—
words concerning the quality of light, the way you hold your head.

Rita Mae Reese, “The American on His First Honeymoon” from The Alphabet Conspiracy. Copyright © 2011 by Rita Mae Reese. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.
Source: The Alphabet Conspiracy (Arktoi Books, 2011)
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