A Prior Despair by Scott Cairns
When I saw that I had lost her completely, I sought the dulcet
taste of her on the lips of each subsequent woman, her fragrant
flesh in the fold of every lover's nape thereafter, and her heat
welling with my own and drawing out an urgency in each
ambiguous woman met in that tortured interim.
When I saw that I had lost her I was lost, and held
my eyes shut tight that I might so delude my wits as to trust
that it was she receiving me, that it was she returning
with delight the urgent drive against the unbearable
distance--two bodies, struggling toward agreeable repose.
Then, tasting once a sudden kiss so suddenly presented,
I saw another prospect rise to view, and knew reprieve
from the familiar ring of hell, from which I rose and marveled
at the offer of another life whose heat and heady fragrance
rose, delirious to burn deliciously, and not consume.
(In celebration of National Poetry Month, I am sharing a poem each day this month.)