Want

September 17, 2019

She wants a house full of cups and the ghosts
of last century’s lesbians; I want a spotless
apartment, a fast computer. She wants a woodstove,
three cords of ash, an axe; I want
a clean gas flame. She wants a row of jars:
oats, coriander, thick green oil;
I want nothing to store. She wants pomanders,
linens, baby quilts, scrapbooks. She wants Wellesley
reunions. I want gleaming floorboards, the river’s
reflection. She wants shrimp and sweat and salt;
she wants chocolate. I want a raku bowl,
steam rising from rice. She wants goats,
chickens, children. Feeding and weeping. I want
wind from the river freshening cleared rooms.
She wants birthdays, theatres, flags, peonies.
I want words like lasers. She wants a mother’s
tenderness. Touch ancient as the river.
I want a woman’s wit swift as a fox.
She’s in her city, meeting
her deadline; I’m in my mill village out late
with the dog, listening to the pinging wind bells, thinking
of the twelve years of wanting, apart and together.
We’ve kissed all weekend; we want
to drive the hundred miles and try it again.

Joan Larkin

Together

May 9, 2015

Johan Christian Dahl - Moon Night Over Dresden, 1827

In the shadow of a greater Power
He seemed to hear her voice, beneath a moon
Which silvers every tiny leaf and flower;
A half forgotten tune

Stirs happy memories of their shared life
In bright and stormy weather
Since they made promises that, man and wife,
They’d live and love together.

Night-scented stock’s sweet fragrance in the garden
Reminds him of their youthful courting days;
A summer breeze gives benison and pardon;
His heart is filled with praise.

No longer does he feel that he’s alone;
She’s there beyond the darkness, giving light
As lovely as the radiance of the moon,
the gentle comfort of the night.