My body, now that we will not be traveling together much longer
I begin to feel a new tenderness toward you, very raw and unfamiliar,
like what I remember of love when I was young –
love that was so often foolish in its objectives
but never in its choices, its intensities.
Too much demanded in advance, too much that could not be promised —
My soul has been so fearful, so violent:
forgive its brutality.
As though it were that soul, my hand moves over you cautiously,
not wishing to give offense
but eager, finally, to achieve expression as substance:
it is not the earth I will miss,
it is you I will miss.
Excerpted from POEMS 1962-2012 by Louise Gluck, published in November 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux LLC and Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. Copyright 2012 by Louise Gluck. All rights reserved.