My love, whose fingers are matches, whose waist is
encircled by the arms of the wind. My love, how the world
sleeps in your throat, how your heart is filled
with the scents of raspberries and grapes,
to live inside you, to live inside the warm peach.
Otherwise there is no way to stop despair from lurking
all night in the shadows beside the old toll gate.
Otherwise we will have to weep in another language.
It was on a country road. It was in the wrong tense.
How do we stop all our words from falling in love with gravity?
Otherwise we will have to stop taking breaths
from this moment on. From this moment on
the abandoned clocks will observe us. My love,
our hearts are growing full of broken wings,
My love, to find our voice in a drop of water,
in the tracks the starlight leaves behind.
If only this were enough. If only we could get
the attention of Time, standing in that doorway,
peeling an apple. It hurts here. It hurts here.
— Richard Jackson, from “The Italian Phrase Book,” Richard Jackson Greatest Hits: 1980-2004 (Pudding House Publications, 2004)