For years, I’d begged him for the smallest word.
Finally I cursed him with the worst I knew.
Silent skies. Maybe it was true,
and he never was? But then I heard
his breath behind my own; even in his sleep
he brooded on the form my hell might take.
So I forgave him. O that shook him awake—
he raged and howled; then he began to weep.

One drop belled at the fracture in his side,
and then a stream, a flood, a tidal race—
all he was was one huge tear. In his place
there stood a human shape cut from the void,
an empty tearless glory. I walked in
and now I wear it like a second skin.

Don Paterson


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