I will not be afraid of loneliness.
Loneliness makes one do things one regrets
the morning after, like the man last night
who flailed in mock enjoyment, danced to get
my interest. He was old and didn’t want
to sleep through the first night of the new year
alone, and so, like a scarecrow, he danced,
and, when I kindly tried to be sincere
by not looking at him, he came so close
I smelled the alcohol, fermented straw,
and danced away. To another younger man
he turned, and then another on the floor.
I know that hurricane. It starts as breath
one grows aware of breathing, then it blows
one all over the landscape till one pierces
something that holds, a tree, say, while it blows
itself out. Blown like that, I hung to you
too long, mistaking loneliness for love.
That’s why I turned you down last night. You’re kind,
your friends sincere and good-looking, sort of,
but loneliness needs to be treated lightly
like making resolutions for the year
to dance with body to the dance beat nightly,
to look into the eyes and smile at fear.