Once I apologized for apologizing too much.
What was there left to apologize for?
In the car, in the dark, your face in silhouette
as on a coin, struck against the country fields
we soldiered past, the fenced and muddy
cow yards where heifers humped each other
out of boredom. What if you broke a cow’s tail,
just snapped it? This was a story you told me
that one day no one would believe.
And as the night came on, I found Orion
with his lazy belt, loose, like the belt
your father beat you with when you needed
a correction, and I felt sorry for you,
though I was myself a child. Like a cheap
teardrop crystal I hung beside you,
reflecting every light back at you,
split by my prisms into rainbows,
and sorry I could not reflect more.
Sorry I could not refract a spectrum
rich enough to fill you up, struck
as you were by oncoming headlights
in the seat beside me, struck as I was
in your image. Struck, as you were,
by a belt, a broom handle, a hose,
a plain old hand. Stuck as I was
by the seatbelt, the car door, the velocity
at which we traveled home. No exiting
allowed. Sorry. Sorry. I’m sorry.
I disappeared in your story and in the dark
of that place I found a marshy wetland.
I found a repentant frog. I found a moth to pin
inside your chest. Thump thump. Thump thump.
As the car tires on the county road thump thumped.
As I was sorry I could not fill the swamp inside you.
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