POEM: Multitudes


He told me that he’d loved before
Her silken hair,
Her chestnut eyes;
A fire with which she lived her life
That burned eternal.

I asked him,
Did he love her still?
Of course;
So long as the tides came
And the wind blew
And the stars marched in procession.

He asked me,
As he took my hand,
And what of you?
My angel, have you never loved before?

Oh, storms and strangers,
Saint Bernards,
Dead men and distant women.
Eyes that meet for a heartbeat, two,
                          then never again –
In that moment I love them
             with a galaxy’s breadth.

He smiled at me.
You haven’t loved.
But I protest;
I can love more in one moment
Than in a thousand years.
I love Bernini’s twisted face,
Each lilting chosen word of
             countless poets.
I love stories and philosophies
Oaths and artifice
The lift of someone’s hand
             to turn the page
In some old bookshop by the Seine.
I love the singing of old men
             behind their market stalls,
The pure and righteous passion
Of protesters on the street,
The smile of strangers over coffee cups
             in quiet cafés
At midnight.

I said
I have the world in me,
And love enough for more.

He said
You have the world in you.
I love that most of all.

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