I’m looking for a word that resists —
the bright twin of darkness, who lies in her arms,
and laughs and takes tiny steps
not sure where each of them will lead.
I know the word, even before the poem begins,
my bright double who takes the darkness in her arms
and teases her and makes her cry
with each intimation of leaving.
But, still, I’m looking for this word that resists,
and will go the whole length of the poem’s darkness to find her.

The day’s smashed open in flakes like beaten metal
and grows harder with the beating.
I won’t survive this day,
or his brilliant twin the night
who runs away frightened at being different
and hides in herself herself and her sibling’s eyes
and his impassive samurai face
which stares and won’t look away —
which simply stares, and won’t look away.

There isn’t a word in the world harder than the light
of a poem making its way back home.
That light is so utterly ruthless,
it makes children of lovers —
even the most ruthless of lovers —
the ones who won’t survive the end of love.
There isn’t a word in the world that can endure
the hardness of a poem that knows
all thoughts of home are over,
all thoughts of love, all thoughts of you.

But the poem occurs, so there must be one thing harder
even than the diamond length of the coldest poem.
And there, every word bends and breaks —
even tenderness itself — even hardness itself.
The morning and the night are like children —
literally, like children —
and you know that I won’t survive them,
or being their father
who always looks away, and lets them die,
and who can do nothing else.

I’m looking for a word that bends, then breaks —
a word that’s too true for its own good —
and then I’ll discard it
like a woman discards her footprints in the snow.
Those words, the ones that resist too much,
they’re easy to find, and easier to lose —
they’re everywhere, all over the ground,
you can pick them up off the street
or walk right through them
like a man walking through fresh snow.

The diamond words of the whole poem’s length of light
are harder than anything,
even than a walk through the snow at noon
knowing you can never go back to her.
The light’s hard, and the snow
that gives under your feet is hard,
noon’s hard, but knowing you can never go back to her
seems harder than anything
except for the diamond words of the whole poem’s darkness
and its glittering, sinuous corridor
that doubles back its cold length into the waiting light.