I feel a shy kind of love for you
writing out your hearts
so long ago
just like we do.
I want to know you
to learn the place
where your poems come from.

I can imagine it
but that seems presumptuous.
Maybe getting to know anyone
is presumptuous
and you lived so long ago.

But, all the same, you’re always
leaving and arriving
and grieving, just as we do
and falling in love and dying.

I do notice, you seem
to make love simple.
It’s the lover
not the love
that leaves footprints
in the green moss.
That speaks of a kind of constancy.

You love the names
of your places. So do we.
It means a lot to love a place,
bigger somehow, than
loving a person.

Chokan, Ku-to-yen, Cho-fu-sa.
Iowa, Minneapolis, Savannah.
Can you hear mine
as I hear yours: Billow-Ease
Fear Well Gorge, the River Kiang?