What didn’t work the first time
won’t work the tenth. This is true
of everything structured by desire
which continues to beat against walls
as if they can dissolve with repetition.
This is a problem in all relationships
that begin in image and end in dreams
that nag through night with what
never was and could not be.
In between these stages comes touch.
The Engineer’s scale is divided into tenths
that are subdivided into more tenths
and so on. Desire works like that.
Everything desired is set at intervals.
You begin where you wake, then
proceed fractionally toward darkness.
What you lack: moth-eyes that absorb the light
instead of reflecting it, and, for hunting
with night vision, the tubular
far-sighted eyes of an owl.
Stan Sanvel Rubin lives on the Olympic Peninsula. He’s published three full-length collections, including Hidden Sequel, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize. A fourth, There. Here., will be published by Lost Horse Press. He writes essay-reviews on poetry for Water-Stone Review.