Did I Write This Poem?

My scrap box.

A few days after I cleaned out my freezer, I spent a few hours organizing some papers in my office. There is a box I keep with scraps and slips and partially filled journals where I’ve written lines of dialogue and ideas for stories and to do lists. It was interesting going through some of them, revisiting forgotten thoughts, recalling others. Stuck inside a notebook I kept in 1995, I found a typewritten poem I didn’t recognize. (That’s not uncommon; I write things down in order to purge my mental space, so there are lots of things I forget about.) I asked my friend Charlie if he’d written it, and he said he thinks that I did. Well, if I did, I can’t remember having done so or where or why, which makes it all the more interesting:

DEVOTION

“…like sky abbreviating seasons with its sweetness…”

As a covenant needs a cloak,
it said, roaming your multiple
wilderness like sky abbreviating
seasons with its sweetness–
so we go, more or less, the white

anatomy of a still familiar
failure, the child cheating his sister
at a game in a garden
which we strive to be
better than. Inaccuracy of eyes

foreshortened in a picture. Not the grim
terrain of degree renouncing
leap, dive, save or tourniquet loosening
pulse to plural, but the flamed sea
I pearl in, wild and ample,

is flint to my figure,
moon and rain and hovel, poverty
the gown to grandeur worn under
parasols of hectic stars. (Adoration
of fugue and  humor, consuming more.)

 

So did I write this poem? Or was it you?