Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Do Not Shake


No, it isn’t what it looks like. Don’t think
the quivering you think you see is anything
like fear of you. I’ve jumped off cliffs
and into caves; I have weathered whole
year-long nights, stood up on roofs and spoken
hard things to crowds carrying stones; I’ve bled;
I have wrestled demons
and won; I’m not afraid of anything

except myself. You are simply
somebody I could cut
bad, cut deep, cleave to the bone
and worse, unwillingly. I am a knife
and you are skin; you are all things warm
and unguarded; you are heart; you are
snappable sinews, unprotected flesh.—Do I

seem strong? Is that
what you admire about me? Don’t—I am no match
for your reckless vulnerability,
your daredevil openness soft-palmed
and smiling, saying,
with that mad lilt of yours
I will show you what affection is, and meaning
I will show you what it’s like
to watch me suffer at your fingertips—oh God—
don’t touch me—you are all I want.