“Always Unexpected and Always the Same” by C.E. McLean

C.E. McLean


It’s always unexpected,
and always the same
Take me, he says.
It happens all the time.
Just when I’ve hushed him down,
just when—
I’ve made my own kind of sense
out of love.

He comes to me,
with eyes like ragged shoes,
worn clear to the soul.
Toasting, liquor, and breath,
he catches me deep.

Primed for my compliance,
he waits for my slip
off my resolve
onto old roads
where aging children play
now you’re it.

I count pitfalls between caresses,
I assess each peach,
that sweet lick between my teeth.
Will I bend this,
with a thousand deliberations?

Now he needs me,
Take me, he says,
away from home.
Now he needs me,
take me away
from everything
that I have,
from everything
that I love,
don’t get me wrong, that I need …
that I can’t live without,
no now anyway …
but please, please, oh please
if you can,
take me away,
take me.

I have no reason not to.
Tomorrow will be the same,
regardless of all the rain-washed windows,
I do.

from Rattle #1, 1995

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