"Should I find it impossible..."

Should I find it impossible to love one who is ashamed,
Living in privacy, one who offers to acquire my love for what I have done,
Entirely herself, one who depends on the piling snow to combine,
Or the rain to break apart; I forgive her January, weeping in public,
Her body’s right to impulse, to retreat,
Knowing the loneliness of what I care about.
I myself, thinking of uselessness, happiness, spend a month
Betraying my friends with lies, distance.
It is easier to spend the last dignity at once, in my mind, by shining,
A slug, a pit, a moth, by shining in mistakes,
In this lonely month.
What is it like to anticipate change,
To turn the disparate, the hated
Aside, giving silence its turn?

                     -- published in Art and Literature, An International Quarterly, Summer 1966

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