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Fan Mail (for Stephen Dunn)

I can only write this

because I know—

or at least I have reason

to assume—

you’ve been here

in a similar chair

in a similar darkness

which covers evening

with a kind of urgency

to speak in sentences

that can never be

mistaken for platitudes

or pleasantries—

I want to reduce

the enormous weight

of emotion

to a few words like

admiration and envy

and even love—

if you’ll permit such a word

to be used innocuously

and from a safe distance

and with the right amount

of reverence.

You have sliced me open

with words

and carved into my heart

a sculpture so solid

and centered—

not even my lover

can move it or lift it

or drop it and break it

as easily and effortlessly

as you.



DeMaris Gaunt