Author's Note: This is a cento. My sources were Silvia Plath, Frank Bidart, Mary Rose O'Reilly, Ben Doller, ee cummings, Pablo Neruda, Richard Blanco, Barbara Guest, Rilke, Eric Baus, Marge Piercy, and Tom Crawford.


White as a knuckle and terribly upset,
I take out the letter you wrote me in Paris
and that ghost tenderly enters:

hissing, bisecting. Half of a thing,
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.

You are here—and no place else. If I don't know
the wall is more real than shadow,
I am too alone in the world, and not alone enough.

You are the one after end—the burned bird I woke up in—
the man who cannot quietly close his eyes.
Learning to love differently is hard;

the price of seeing is silence
smashed. It doesn't matter.