Tonight, the old hard work of love
has given up. I can’t unbutton promises
or sing secrets into your left ear
tuned to quivering plucked strings.

No, please. I can’t face the reflection
of metal on your skin & in your eyes,
can’t risk weaving new breath into war fog.
The anger of the trees is rooted in the soil.

Let me drink in your newly found river
of sighs, your way with incantations.
Let me see if I can’t string this guitar

& take down your effigy of moonlight
from the cross, the dogwood in bloom
printed on memory’s see-through cloth.