Gravity and Center

I'm sorry I cannot say I love you when you say

you love me. The words, like moist fingers,

appear before me full of promise but then run away

to a narrow black room that is always dark,

where they are silent, elegant, like antique gold,

devouring the thing I feel. I want the force

of attraction to crush the force of repulsion

and my inner and outer worlds to pierce

one another, like a horse whipped by a man.

I don't want words to sever me from reality.

I don't want to need them. I want nothing

to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,

or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,

or the sound of water poured in a bowl.

Henri Cole, "Gravity and Center" from Blackbird and Wolf. Copyright © 2008 by Henri Cole. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.
Source: Pierce the Skin: Selected Poems, 1982-2007 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)
More Poems by Henri Cole