LESLEY YALEN


MY LOVE, I RETURN

Tonight, I looked through old
love letters and thought about the
reasons for war. One of them said
I converted to Islam for you. One
of them said I converted to Christ-
ianity for you. Another said I left
my wife for you and another said
I put down my pet for you. That
was about it. It wasn’t a very thick
stack of letters, but it was petulant
and reminded me of some good times.
I took a pretty vigorous shower, thinking
the key thing is to prevent the death
of baby, and then to prevent my death
and yours, and mom and dad’s, and
so on, people in far away countries being
pretty far down the list. You were at online
class all evening, so my thoughts went
uninterfered with, the night and the cause
being all but lost. I went out for a drink
but didn’t drink. My friend and I said
Let’s punch somebody tonight and I’ll
add that I came home to you here happy.
 
 
 
 
IN EITHER CASE

Here is the you I’ve been talking about
reading the magazine, putting tape on the
broken handle, buying what’s needed for
dinner and then making it. You star in this
not guest-star, your non-name in light
and speckled beard. I’ll get out of the way.
I don’t know how to do the broom and not
interrupt you. You I think would survive an
apocalypse thing without killing, without turning
bad, though depressed and angry for sure you’d
rage through the forest lashing trees with your
rope. A lot of my friends have been saying the
apocalypse is happening right now, see cranes
falling, ducks shellacked in oil, levees breached,
snipers, hurricanes of propaganda, puppet govern-
ments at home and abroad. But that is not about you,
forgive me. It’s hard to write a poem about light,
love, goodness, sweet faces and not feel like I’m
forgetting to do what I promised. Tonight I will tell
you what I want you to do in the unlikely event that
all goes well, but right now, I must tell you that if I
should get ambushed while tidying the hideout, I
want you to go on, to find your close, calm way once
more and to take the baby and go on and love her.
 
 
 
 



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