The List

After many years together
I started making lists
of intolerable things you did—
I would write them down
on my yellow pad of paper
and every time you did something nice
or thoughtful or considerate
I ripped out the page and sent it flying
toward the trash like a death row pardon.
You still do thoughtful things
that make me ashamed to keep track
of every fault I find—
but I am keeping the list this time—
letting it grow into a vine of offenses
I’ll be able to use as footing
for when I accumulate the courage
to disappear into one of these nights
you’re so good at turning black.





Photograph, Paul Caponigro “Two Leaves” 1963


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