“We are the strain and stress of a line,
the poem’s tension singing in each black wire
of words, and between the first line and the last.
We are the angle of light that burns water,
the point of intersection that creates perspective.
I’ve never let myself describe you
and now that there’s no time left
your meaning spills out of me
like the essence of an atom cracking
on the edge of speed’s bowl,
liquid in its longing to become part of something else,
Last night I Iooked out
to the grocer’s across your street,
baskets of flowers lining the sidewalk,
trembling in the dark wind.
The gasp of paper and leaves
made me eighteen again —
nothing about the feeling had changed,
the ambush of longing October calls out.
I’m living proof
we don’t stop wanting
what we can’t have.
No matter where you are or
who you’re near,
we come up for air together.
No matter my pace or distance,
it’s you I surface to.”—Anne Michaels, fragments from “Sublimation,” in Miner’s Pond (McCelland & Stewart, 1991)