“If no other direction can compell” by Marilyn Hacker
If no other direction can compell
me upward from the dark-before-the-dawn
descending spiral, I drop like a stone
flung into some scummed-over stagnant well.
The same momentum with which once we fell
across each other’s skies, meteors drawn
by lodestones taproots clutched in unmapped ground
propels me toward some amphibious hell
where kissing’s finished, and I tell, tell, tell
reasons as thick as frogspawn:
had I done this, that wouldn’t have come undone.
The wolf of wolf’s hour cried at once too often
picked out enfeebled stragglers by the smell
of pond scum drying on them in the sun.
– Marilyn Hacker, Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons (1986)