Apologies (to the poet Maxine Kumin, in Memoriam)

Apologies (to the poet Maxine Kumin, in Memoriam)


I must have been a handful.

20 year olds want to see, hear

and taste.

20 year old poets think they know


So much new libido to expend.

So much anger to quiet.

And all the time you

were trying to keep her,

your best friend,

from hurting herself.


Anne Sexton’s signature

went from firm and clear

to a three-letter jagged block.

I saw it at BU. Frightening.

If a signature tells a story,

hers showed volumes.

I hope guilt didn’t sear you.


Meanwhile, there I was,

wanting to devour half the world

and sleep with the other half.

No wonder you retreated.


Sadness, confusion.

I am sorry.

I didn’t know,

although your favorite did.

Perhaps if I had been blond, blue-eyed

and Mayflower-related…

but no.

I never practiced sedate.

It wasn’t in my genes.


Nor demure, nor reverent.

And you would not explain.


I am sorry, Maxine.

I guess misunderstandings were fated.

I just hope

that somewhere,

your piano in the corner

is playing

and the cat on your window

is sunning.


I still have no patience for either.



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