I owe everything to every unkept garden
and every torn poem
and lost pen.
I owe that bitterness
in the laugh of men
with fair hands
and unconscious reasons.
Even those whose hate
drenches fields, demanding crop,
scarce coin and admiration.
I owe the ones before me
who did not fear to speak too strong,
or praise too far
the throngs of distant, rhyming stars.
I owe everything to long nights alone
and to long nights alone
I owe everything to a big black dog
who taught me the dark
drooling obedience to joy.
I owe every little pain
that bruises the peach or rips the pit,
every open throated moan
we yearn to hear and surely won't,
every half a cry
and well-hid weeping.
And though it may only make
the smallest dent in that debt,
I owed something somewhere
to make all this for you, for us.