when both are strong with tenderness, too wild
with oneness to be severance-reconciled;
when even the touch of fingertips can shock
both to such seesaw mutuality
of hot-pressed opposites as smelts a tree
tighter to its dryad than to its own tight bark;
when neither jokes or mopes or hates alone
or wakes untangled from the other; when
more-warm-than-soul, more-deep-than-flesh are one
in marriage of very skeleton:
when, then, soil peels mere flesh off half this love
and locks it from the unstripped half above,
who’s ever sure which side of soil he’s on?
have I lain seconds here, or years like this?
I’m sure of nothing else but loneliness
and darkness, here’s such black as stuffs a tomb,
or merely midnight in an unshared room.
holding my breath for fear my breath is gone,
unmoving and afraid to try to move,
knowing only you have somehow left my side,
I lie here, wondering, which of us has died.