Lynne Knight


My father was driving over Storm King,
the old highway, carved into the side
of the mountain, sudden curves,
so he had to stare straight ahead
but would have anyway because he was talking
about passion, by which he meant
sex, sex being a word he couldn’t say
in reference to me and my boyfriend, to whom
he objected because I’d had sex with him
and written home about it, a long rhapsodic
letter on the loss of my virginity, a shorter
version of which I’d typed out for my grandmother
who wrote back saying my grandfather, two years
dead, would probably have recommended waiting.
My father was telling me passion wouldn’t last,
even when passion was good it only lasted
a couple of years, I shouldn’t be confusing it
with love and deciding to drop out of school,
run off to Mexico, write novels and screw,
a word he could say, to make me hear
his despair, and all this time I was thinking
What does he know, what does he know,
looking down at my hands
that had been everywhere on my lover,
looking over at my father’s hands
that once had held the whole of me,
had moved all over my mother,
What does he know, his hands and mine
both freckled, tense—
so much tenderness lost
in fear of loss.