I am, in the moment’s mindless rhythm, 
far from perfect.
Far from escaping, for the two of us,
a six-second quake of perfection.
Six seconds to stir life’s beginning,
middle and end.

Six seconds to unravel life, yours, mine, ours.
How many others, young, unwed,
the nameless fixer fixed, in a half-vacant
walk-up in Harlem, I can’t say.
By morning, the ER doc has dammed
a corpuscular stream he knows is part
of a lie he chooses to forget.
Love’s fugue, we learn, too perfect
the first time, sings its last for you
in the imperfect fixing.

We forgive ourselves, we said.
As if youth could rewrite the song,
start the music over.
Guilt, I discover, is a fugue of body
and moment, the mind practices
to perfection.
Perfecting the end is hardest.