Sometimes I read a poem and it just reminds me of something I would say, or maybe something I wish I had said. Or something I would like to say that clearly has already been said. This is one of those poems. This poem also reminds me, just a little bit, of my crush on Bukowski. How can a girl who covets the words of poets not fall in love with such a brilliant scribe?
Not Knowing What He's Missing
by Beth Ann Fennelly
The old poet writes importantly about the hungers.
About Brahms, being greedy for intensity, hot
sunlight on small weeds, fierce honey from hives
abandoned far up the mountain. And the women,
their flavors and flaws. The places he's had them,
Paris, Japan, dire Copenhagen, stony islands in Greece.
And now he is eighty, and wishes to be in love again.
Sometimes his wishes sound like bragging.
She reads his poems gratefully in her small
Mississippi town. Its an undramatic life, yet
these past months she seems to have found the intensity
he yearns for. This also sounds like bragging,
though she doesn't mean it to. If she could, she'd let him
bear her secret. She'd let all the great men bear it,
for a few hours. Then, when she took it back,
they'd remember how it feels to be inhabited.
Last night the secret kicked her awake. She grew
hungry. She didn't want to roll-heave out of bed,
but the secret demanded. She walked to the kitchen, stood
eating handfuls of cereal from the box while the birds
sang in the dark. Finally, the secret was content. She tried
the bed again, facing the rising sun. The secret kicked
so hard the mattress shook, but the husband didn't wake.