Full of clichés, sporadic laughter,
this story is still often recited
when nights are long and hot,
enduring midnights and sunrises
that soon erase any tale told.
Listeners will not recall my disgrace
when morning retrives us.
But I am not blessed enough to forget.
For while men grow old
and their wives blossom in beauty,
I remain as shut out as the morning
you folded me into a box
and closed me up
and put me away.
And I always regreat speaking of it.
This flaw I will never be rid of,
this single mistake which holds on
tighter than sin
with more subtlety than a dimming light.
None see it but I, the condition
of holding back, the irremovable mask,
caged-up heart, tied-down wings,
never letting any in to view
my boxed self.
You own me. You set in motion
this lifetime of struggle, of
fighting my own strength.
I am bound and chained to you,
captive to your punishment,
to your perception of what I am.
For in those hours preluding sunrise
in the rapture of fervent tension,
you took my untainted declarations
and turned them to unforgivable crimes.