I talk to you about writing poetry

as if it were like opening a vein

as if there were some kind of gain

in seeking the dangers,

as if I sought them myself—those nights

of terror, those days of weeping

on the streets;

as if anyone would actively seek the thrill,

or cultivate terror for the sake

of song.

What I don't hear in your voice

until after you've gone

is the strain

the monumental

pain you have risen above,

rise above daily

in isolation—smiling,

ordering your life,

refining a formal feeling,

doing everything not

to open a vein.