I knew that you were properly in love with me
when you asked me to edit that draft of yours.
My nervous pen spidered across the page.
Student doing it to teacher did seem very wrong
but I lectured myself. Instructed me to cool my boots,
suggested, hey, maybe they’re right when they say
a teacher is taught by his pupil. I have to admit
I wanted to believe all that from the back
of my smoke-damaged throat and from the dry core
of my over-wined liver. I stroked the pages. I noticed
your appendices included a mass of explanations
and at least one elementary omission.
I crossed through fifty-three words. I amended fourteen
inaccuracies that would have had the world reaching for her pen.
I gave the manuscript back to you. My skin damped with need
like when I kissed you on the Oxford train.
I watched you read. The tower clock began to chime.
Three millions years went by. Then you said,
How about you, huh? My new editor. Thank you. Yes.
I said I love you so much, darling, and you said, Yes. Yeah.
You turned your silver head in the direction of another woman.
I struggled to pull your eyes back into mine.
Your new gaze was iced by shards of impatience.
One last chime. Then the tower clock was silent.