After it ended badly it got so much better
which took a while of course but still
he grew so tender & I so grateful
which maybe tells you something about how it was
I’m trying to tell you I know you
have staggered wept spiraled through a long room
banging your head against it
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I think I detect cracked leather.
I’m pretty sure I smell the cherries
from a Shirley Temple my father bought me
in 1959, in a bar in Orlando, Florida,
and the chlorine from my mother’s bathing cap.
And last winter’s kisses, like salt on black ice,
like the moon slung away from the earth.
When Li Po drank wine, the moon dove
in the river, and he staggered after.
Probably he tasted laughter.
When my friend Susan drinks
she cries because she’s Irish
and childless. I’d like to taste,
one more time, the rain that arrived
one afternoon and fell just short
of where I stood, so I leaned my face in,
alive in both worlds at once,
knowing it would end and not caring.
Kim Addonizio's poetry collections include Lucifer at the Starlite (W. W. Norton, 2009); What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2004); and Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.