Promise

 

When I see you slump, defeated in your chair,

should I disturb you? Or should I leave you there

in your cave, in your brain, your truck, lake, lair,

 

dive, booth, toilet seat, bar stool, bench, deep freeze-

equivalent of slumping in your chair

as if undressed, in your pajamas, unaware?

 

Though groomed, you look tousled. You’re three.

Something’s frayed, delayed, broken—and you’ve gone back there,

through wadis, through arroyos, where the glare

 

of an absorbing sun sucks the moist air into a wheeze.

You breathe a shallow breath, defeated in your chair.

Snug hood of fear. You’ll never shout or dare

 

to have a bold idea or simply stretch in ease

or find someone worth beguiling while you’re lost in there.

But that’s my fear to conquer. Till you repair,

 

I must not leap. Not call, cajole, mock or appease

when you slump, defeated, even in a straight-back chair,

a dentist’s chair, a desk chair, club chair, a theatre seat.

 

Don’t we all deserve a good slump, even so deep

it unnerves your loving witness who cannot please

you, her temp-god, constructed of the air

 

she thinks she needs to breathe, but doesn’t need? To care

means simply to breathe one’s own air. To wait

and not to cheat you of your curvature.

Agreed. I’ll leave you there.