I make it my principle to watch you
undress. When you bend for a sock, I count
your vertebrae. I know your underwear
from ten feet, I have pet names for each pair:
Lucky, Climber, Omigod. I make it
my principle to be first in bed, last
to close my eyes. I count your breaths. Some nights
I reach a thousand before I can stop.
If I could die watching you, I would make
it my principle to shorten my life.
How do you like paradise so far? Stay.
Its charm burns off like morning rain. Crabs clean
these rocks by hand. You will regret feelings
so exquisite. Earth screamed our birth with fire:
the end will come when the sea loses count.
One god named the old island, another
will name the new. Teach me to lay my eggs
in sand, I’ll teach you to breathe in the sea.
Watch for the silhouetted shearwater
at sunset zipping the horizon closed.
— H. L. Hix, from “Orders of Magnitude” (2000)
A house full of scraps of poems, unused ideas. A nest of thoughts, the wood chips from an industrious carpenter of the word. Their abundance, like froth, around my existence, excess, boiling over. I don’t know why I sentenced this or that poem to non-being, to silence; why I wrote down this, but not that thought. All froth.