When I Say I Ache for You

First, though, I should make clear that when I say
I love you I admit a deep confusion figuring
a mix of selfish joys and gratitude, and if
I say you are my life such talk would also prove
both broadly vexed and gesturing in evermore
elusive trope with weak abstraction dimming
the horizon. Early on, startling to the fact of you
then waking in my sleep-slow arms I’m sure I said
you have made me better than I was—whatever
that has come to mean by now. But when I say
I ache for you I am not speaking metaphorically,
as every figuration quiets to this moment,
mute, which absolutely aches, as if the heart
had risen from its roaring cave to press
with sudden heat and weight, low in the throat,
an absolutely animal occasion where
the pulse and all its music meets the breath, just here.

—for M.L.V.