When you show yourself to the woman
you love, you don’t know your fear
is not fear, itself. You have never been good,
but now you are so good,
who are you? Is it the liquidity of her skin
that bathes the world for you,
or her face, captured like a she-lion
in your own flesh?
This summerbed is soft with ring upon ring
upon ring of wedding, the kind
that doesn’t clink upon contact, the kind
with no contract,
the kind in which the gold is only (only!) light.
Cloud covers and lifts,
and sleep and night and soon enough, love’s
big fire laughs at a terrible burn,
but only (only!) because pain absorbs excess
joy and you shouldn’t flaunt
your treasures in front of all day’s eyes.
— Brenda Shaughnessy
again and again