[From HUMANITAS, Volume X, No. 1, 1997. © National Humanities Institute, Washington, DC]


For You My Dear Surgeon

When you performed
that necessary surgery
last night
I could have kissed
your splendid hands;
such absolute incision,
not a drop of blood
that might have left
unsightly—and suspicious—
insinuating homicide.

Your fingers, soft and
so magnificent,
detected my affected heart
that was beyond recovery
available to modern medicine,
and lifted it
like a small wounded bird—
out of its cage.

And yes of course
you saved me
for continued use.
Today I function
with superior efficiency
and equanimity,
one might say almost
I'm alive.

But such surprise
awaited me . . .
I had not known
that even absent
that pulsating thing
I still could love you
with all else
that passes for my self,
and yearn
as long as I have breath. . . .

Divine Revenge

When Venus saw
our ecstasy
was of a kind
that much surpassed
what she and Cupid
ever thought that mortals
would sustain,
her legendary jealousy
grew dark
and instantly decided
on revenge.

Which came, as I had
presciently anticipated
all along:
you asked
if it was worth
the pain.

That such a question
can be asked . . .
is punishment enough.

Copyright © 1997 National Humanities Institute.
Last updated 29 July 97