I Shout Love and Other Poems
from Meniscus (2009)
I'd shout love if it weren't ridiculous,
if there weren't an elephant in the room,
if sonnets were romantic instead of credulous-
semantic, if this brand of mutual doom
indemnified grief beyond my belief in you,
and you, my public policy, my secret sharer,
even whispering this is shouting, blue-
in-the-face, gasp-intake, self-scarer,
laryngitic, involuble, I watch you sleep
and think of timing, of elephant dance,
of this longing and belonging steeped
in my groped finesse. Perhaps I'll prance,
preen and shriek, mate for life.
The elephant is reluctance. Be my wife.
The missionary mating practice of the elephant, as imagined by 18th-century French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc (Comte de Buffon). From his 44-volume Histoire Naturelle.