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David Lehman

To You

“I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut. . .” — Kenneth Koch


As a traveler, weary after hours in a plane, in trains, and waiting between them at stations, drinks a cold cup of coffee, and nevertheless falls asleep in his seat, so I, dozing off at my desk ignoring the tasks of the day, taste the sweetness of your remembered lips and slip into your slumber like a visitor from abroad.

As a shareholder proposes a revision to the corporate charter limiting the number of years a company’s director can serve, though everyone knows the proposal has no chance to be adopted, so I write sonnets, one a day, wooing you in alliterative lines that lick the inner ear of the woman I love.

As twenty measures of gin to one measure of dry vermouth make an acceptable Martini, so one unit of poetry converts twenty of prose into a prose poem.


You are as sexy as an alternative production of “As You Like It.”

Your soul is a perishing republic that shines like the star that gives lonely men their courage.

Your body is as verse to the prose argument that prefaces each canto of my egoistic sublime romantic epic.

You heart is like a foreign film without subtitles.

Your dream is an American film with Greek subtitles.


I love you as an adverb caresses the adjective that pinches the ass of the noun coupling with a verb in the back seat of the convertible parked high above the Pacific of evening dreams.

I love you in the morning forgetfully as an old man forgets to put in his teeth when he knocks on his son’s door at three or four in the morning wondering what the fuck kind of noise is that to make when your old man is trying to catch forty winks?

I love you as the center fielder ranges far to his left and catches the ball that would otherwise cost his team the game, and he falls but holds onto the ball, and the resulting injury is minor.

October 2005  |  Jacket 28  Contents  |  Homepage  |  Catalog  |  Search  |
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