I thought being gay saved me from being a man
and man’s mistakes: great wall, sacked city, rape
and either/or. Victor or also-ran.
Pope or poop. Beta-male or top ape.
Or, in my mind, Poet (upper case) or not.
Last week, before you read, your daughter ran
and tied your hand in hers. You loosed the knot
for a while and read to strangers, students, friends.
I think of the women who lived, loved and wrote,
those who still do, as someone’s daughter, wife
and mum. I’m that man-poet who to his wife
left the children, so he could read and quote
Bradstreet, Dickinson, Smith, Browning, Glück,
Rossetti, Bishop, Chin, Plath, Dove and Rich.
for Marie Howe