140 THE MISSOURI REVIEW • SPRING 2019
twisted to buck the dowser’s grip.
But she already knew. She just wanted to hear it
out loud, between the druggist’s
narrow rows, the shelves arrayed
with unguents, envelopes of
dusty grit Leonard dissolved
gray in a glass. You swallowed it down
and still they pulled your teeth, fed you
a child’s sodden bread, put you
back in the bed where you told me
all the things that would not stir
by day. Last night in the sleepless
nightmare hours I composed
another letter too late to post.
I woke with my fingers straddling
the secret clasp your tongue undid
like myrtle foaming white and honey-sweet: one thousand thousand ships
setting sail with billowed sheets
the sun’s white surgery deflates.
Punctured hulls of amphorae
broken on the beach. I am
a long-eared owl and an ass.
The dawn is dull and damp.
You would have said it plain:
I’ve missed you and I will,
you who were already known to me—
the secret star that charts my sea.