Rita Dove


No one can help him anymore.
Not the young thing next door
in the red pedal pushers,
not the canary he drove distracted

with his mandolin. There’ll be
no more trees to wake him in moonlight,
nor a single dry spring morning
when the fish are lonely for company.

She’s standing there telling him: give it up.
She is weary of sirens and his face
worn with salt. If this is code,

she tells him, listen: we were good,
though we never believed it.
And now he can’t even touch her feet.