the man i love most is made of paper and fabric,

sweet pulp-flesh bound by glue and string.

he is ephemeral, eternal, copied and pressed,

burns down in a minute flat, maybe less.

the smooth lines of him round off with crossed t's,

dotted i's, semicolon and full stop. his y's curl

like a lover's smile. his h's ache like a bitten tongue.

he can't cure me, he can't scold me. someone i

could talk to and won't talk back, one i can't hurt.

he has been dedicated to more than me: everyone:

to wives and children and fathers and sisters. he is for

the universe, for the seven billion and counting, i am

for all of him and his kind. for the moment when i sweetly

crack his spine to the moment i fold him between two covers,

i will love him and i will leave him again and again.

he is typeset and mass-printed. got me surrounded

by a paper-thick forest of gilded pages, firm strong type,

bold black determined ink. i could never love them all.

who am i: dedicated to none of him. this love goes up in dark smoke.

loving my man means leaving him on a bus seat,

on a park bench, at a restaurant, for someone else to love

while i find another lover, my man my paper man.