A love poem risks becoming a ruin, public, irretrievable, a form of tattooing,
while loss, being permanent, can sustain a thousand documents.
Loss predominates in history, smorgasbord of death, betrayal, heresy,
crime, contagion, deployment, divorce. A writer could remain aboard
the ship of grief and thrive, never approaching the shores of rapture.
What can be said about elation that the elated, seeking consolation
from their joy, will go to books for? It’s wiser and quicker to look for
a poem in the dentist’s chair than in the luxury suite where
eternal love, declared, turns out to be eternal. Who cares about
a stranger’s bliss? Thus the juncture where I’m stalled, unaccustomed
to integrity, despite your presence, our tranquility, and every confidence.
Adrienne Su is the author of three books of poems: Middle Kingdom (Alice James, 1997), Sanctuary (Manic D Press, 2006), and Having None of It (Manic D Press, 2009). Among her awards are a Pushcart Prize and an NEA Literature Fellowship. She is poet-in-residence and chair of the English department at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Recent poems appear in the New Republic, Kenyon Review, and Hawai’i Pacific Review.