You were always so adamant. You told me that the one thing I was missing—I didn’t know that I was free. Tonight, when I pulled the car around, I was alone under the sky. And I was thinking it was the first year, when I could see somehow you were right. 

Was I free as I should be, or free as you were? Is it me that you’re talking to? I never could stand those simple words. Tonight I left before the sun rose and drove and drove, like in a dream. All these years I have followed you; it never occurred to you to follow me.


There was a time when you put your hand on the small of my back. I was surprised that you touched me like that. But there in your hand was a current of life I could hardly stand. I stayed still, and I didn’t mention it, or if I did, I made some kind of joke of it. It was strange—how I could feel so sane, so plain when you’re around. And unbidden to me, there it rose, the fantasy, colored rose and easy; yeah, I could see it so simple, unsubtle—impossible, clearly. And strange, far and as close as the mountain range on the horizon driving all day. There I was so sane—so plain—after everything. 

Gas came down from a buck twenty—the joke was how it broke the economy anyhow. The dollar was down, but my friends opened businesses; there were new children. And again, I didn’t get married; I wasn’t close to my family; and my dad was raising a child in Nairobi—she was three now, he told me. Gas stations I laughed in, I noticed fucking everything: the light, the reflections, different languages, your expressions. We would fall down laughing, effervescent, and all over nothing, all over nothing. Just as though it was a joke, my whole life through, all of the pain and the sorrow I knew, all of the tears that had fallen from my eyes; I can’t say why. We walked in the park; under the shade, I avoided your eyes. I was ashamed of my own mind, no SSRIs, my day as dark as your night.

Oh, you got the kindest of eyes, I cannot help but notice sometimes, but you know as do I, I cannot look twice without falling right into the sweet and tender line between something that can and can never be. And just then an ambulance passed on the street, and you took my arm reflexively.

That was the year I was thirty. That was the year you were thirty-one. That was the year we lost, or we won.

That was the year I was thirty. That was the year you were thirty one. That was that year—now here, now here, is another one. 


It was always a marriage, from the moment that you stepped into my hallway, shy as anyone I’ve ever known. You choose what to believe in, in this flippant time there’s no real reason not to. We wrote letters to each other as though addressing the ocean. That we stand before now, you in my old cardigan, and I in your blue jeans, and the light turned golden on the distant headlands, and the ocean; you and I on the other side of the world.  Love, it is no mystery, it never has been—no, not to me.  I love because I see.

But we never got better, we never got to talking, we never figured out the questions, we got good at walking; walking the streets, when it was too hot to eat, walking in step, we can’t help it.

You remember in June, you showed up one day, with a small leather suitcase swaying your walk. And you stayed on with me late into the evening, into all the years that have passed on since then. With no certainty, no agreement, more intimate than I could imagine, but with space I cannot fathom. Like a song with so much silence, just like you in your defiance—you say you never questioned anything; you say you knew from the beginning.

I ask for your hand in it, some infinite understanding. But I don’t know nothing of what I am asking; I have no idea of what it will entail. I asked for your hand like it was too intimate to ask for your mind, or to count on kindness, like I count only on your presence, like I don’t count on nothing else.  

Oh, it was always a marriage, from the moment that you stepped into my hallway, shy as anyone I’d every known, curious and alone.

There were days when the luminescence of the skies or the deep brown grasses struck me so hard in the early evening—I can hardly take it, that light feeling. I rode up past St Clair, same old city but it could have been anywhere. And the scent of the air so exotic, every thought like I never have thought it. Then I felt that confidence in me, like a child in a strange new body. I kept it all to myself. 

Sometimes I loved you unadulterated purely, untouched by doubt or by my memory. Sometimes I loved you in a shadowed way, windscreen clearing but still streaked with grey. Sometimes we held hands like we were children, and I’d never known anything different. Like I’d never known anything different, like I’d never known. I tried to leave you; I left only myself. Before I knew it, I was down in the well. Sometimes I felt like I was floating, high by the ceiling as we were just talking, and kind faces would change on me—eyes and nose and mouth, unfamiliar assembly. I kept it all to myself.

I got so tired of all of the subtext, the subtleties and the minute regrets. You were smiling like you thought I couldn’t see you, like you’re afraid of what I might reveal in you. Is it better if I look away? If all I know I never do say? My love is the heaviest thing, I understand if you don’t want to wear my ring. My love is the heaviest thing so I kept it all to myself. You would think I had so much wealth, if I kept it all to myself.


I found that I was angry in the cool of the day—all the tall trees swaying, all I did not say. Though I managed all the details, and I made all those phone calls, and I wrote out all the emails and straightened out the front hall, it don’t matter; it made no difference. All through our disagreement there was a cardinal on the fence. Put no walls around me, I will lay the stones myself, and lay down with my body but give nothing else. Still living with the feeling pent up in my chest, my old lifelong companion, the one I know the best. 

Well, I guess I got the hang of it—the impossible. You could say I moved right in with it—the impossible.  

You knew I felt unnatural in the blue light of dawn. I left the house in shadow, and my mind went on and on. On the long spool of highway, strange fragments of song, and all I can’t get my way, everything that’s still wrong. 

Oh, I guess I got the hang of it—the impossible. And I walk the endless boundaries of it, just to know what you can’t ever have—what is light, what shadow. I guess I always wanted the impossible. 

In time learned to rest on the fevered pitch, the change was so relentless, no time to get used to it. I had to get so ruthless, to cut right down to the quick, to wake at six AM and go along with all of it.

But still I was so sensitive I could hardly even stand your simple acts of kindness, the gentle pressure of your hand. Glimpsed from the ferry, green swaths of land. Sleeping on the floor I felt the ocean’s movement.


You were a friend to me; you told me all that was on your mind. And it meant so much to me, from the beginning, how it was so kindred-spirited to mine. I would think of you sometimes in the early morning, as I dressed to meet a plane, before the cab came. How I let you down when I had the most to give, how I let you down but you were quick to forgive. You wanted to help me, you wanted to sit and talk for hours; but I wanted power.

I tried words, I tried feelings, I tried close my eyes believing, I tried getting you on my side, I tried being on top of it, I tried responsibility. I express myself properly—I got blindly angry, with my whole heart in it, but there was no conduit, there was no sure way to it; I thought that I had blown it. The further I got in it, the stranger it was to win it; I could not have it, but still I searched from sheer force of habit. I felt like I was descending some strange inverted tower, looking for my power.

I wanted permission, I wanted expedition, I wanted to have weight to throw around—for you to look up when I found something so beautiful, and I could tell you somehow. I’d never have to shout, you would listen to my know-how, all the love our love allows. I felt so clumsy and plain; I was filled with so much shame, just trying to say to say to say to say, to call out anything by name. Every line felt lifted, every smooth stone was pitted by the wind and rain that hit it, and I never could forget it like you forgot it. I wanted to set it all down so it would open to you like a flower; yes, I wanted power.

I fell asleep on the plane, and I woke up strange, twisted in the pale blue seat, an hour gone by. The sun was rising again, keeping distant over the blackened blue rim of the sky. I spent my whole life thinking that I was some kind of coward.


I was on the sidewalk, and you were in a dream; you said you couldn’t stand it these days, your sensitivity. The city felt oppressive, the heat and the noise, and even at home you felt every unspoken voice. I don’t know how, but I tell you you’ll be fine, and I set the table, and you pour the wine. You always have been capable, always have been kind; it isn’t really your fault, just the tenor of the times. You got a job and lost it, and they never told you why; and you can’t seem to get past it, this ordinary lie. And they’re saying this summer is the worst it’s ever been, with the radio on, and they’re talking. Another shooting, floods creeping in the lowlands, and everybody’s shouting, and I just hold your hand. And I say nothing, I say nothing at all; I don’t think my voice matters really after all. I was raised to hear the curlews; I was raised to notice light, and I watch the little swallows, delicate in their flight. I trail my hand down through the water of the familiar riverside, for hours in such silence I lay beside—terrified, for knowing in my time, for all the parts per million, for unstoppable design. How can you get over knowing all you know? All the facts and the figures you learned years ago.  

I moved back to the city; I lost myself in you, or in some kind of fiction, or in some kind of truth. I let myself get cynical; I felt cold and bruised, and the facts never changed, and time only moves. And somewhere above the tree line, silent just like you, the river never froze in, and footsteps break through. And somehow in my heart, am I supposed to make do with the fragment of the stars the blue-white streetlights let through? All the birds not calling, all the hot winds blow; I took your picture in the sunset, smiling in the shadow. You and I, we are complicit; you and I were never blind; now we’re gonna live with it, our open eyes.


Humid wood, you felt good, and you shook your tangled hair down. With the sweat in your eyes, and all the black flies. Under lidded skies you lie down there in the grasses. On the clifftop, you remember, salt stinging in your lashes. Straight line of horizon, and the ocean painful wide. Every time you come back here, you feel nothing, and then you cry out all the strangeness you have carried all year. Every crooked word spoken still ringing in your ears like the whine of mosquitoes. Oh, who are you alone? With your cheek against the stone, what do you think you know?  

Under lidded skies, under the rising clouds of black flies, under tangled branches way up high glinting in the last light; you left, you got into the car, sink down into the fabric. And you close the heavy metal door, with your hands upon the plastic, and drive on into the cold. So calm, like it don’t matter. Like slipping into a pond, all the little waves roll and scatter.


I don’t know what to say, but stay—until the meaning comes and finds you anyway. You may not know for certain; you may not ever choose; you may find your heart revealed like a bruise—when you didn’t call me, when you did call, like water efflorescing through a brick wall. Now we’re laughing again, walking late at night—the catch in your throat, the catch in mine.

I don’t know what to say, so I say too much. And maybe through it all you felt a shiver at my touch. I want the mud of love to catch at my knees, all the silt and sand between you and me—pulling from mountains every black stone, round every eddy in the river down to the valley below. Dragging for bodies, memories forgot; your hands on my shoulders, everything I want.

Just don’t go—stay—everything has changed a thousand times anyway. Like we had no power, like we had no sway; the heartbreak you know will find you either way.


You know, in an hour it could all turn around—you don’t have to know how. Though it all feels like fate now that you’re down. Strange in your body and strange in your mind, now it’s coming from all sides. I lay you down on the floor, and I close the blinds. It don’t have to be everything that I know you need; it don’t have to be—only minute one, minute two, minute three.

I cannot tell us apart—your pain made free with my own heart. We laid out under the ceiling as though under the stars. As though this afternoon was the blackness from here to the moon, dizzied by distances within you. It don’t have to be an answer to every disaster you know could come true—only minute one, then minute two. 

It don’t have to be everything that I know you need; it don’t have to be—only minute one, minute two, minute three. You know in an hour it’ll all be the same: you and I and the gentle rain, the white window through which the wind came.


Tonight I’m hoping to be awake; I followed your car down to the lake. We got a table at the old boulevard club. The waitress offered a smile to your joke in politeness; you did not know, you held her talking while I waited watching. You laid your credit card on the table and told me about your bills and the sale of hydro, the incompetence of your bosses and your lawyers, and the warming ocean.

I woke up in your life—I was passing behind your eyes before I knew what was yours and what was mine. I listened; I took it all in stride, your ideas and distorted pride, while learning by heart all your thoughts and your visions. The most dangerous thing about you is your pain—I know for me it is the same. It was restless; you felt it, but never could call it by name. It was yours for life to have and hold, a companion that you had never known, a shadow you saw but never knew that you cast. And all of the sadness you can’t explain poured from you like a summer rain, hand in hand with your child in the morning.



You looked small in your coat one hand up on the window, so long now you’d been lost in thought.  No snow on the road, we’d been lucky, and it looked like we would be well past Orleans.  And past Montmagny; the road giving way to river, the frozen Saint Lawrence white and blue.  We went out on the ice and I turned back to you, a figure, distant and small in the long view.  Was it a look in your eye?  I wasn’t sure.  The way it is and the way it could be both are.  We got back in the car.

You always tell me the truth – even when it hurts me or it hurts you.  Could you go a little easy, would it kill you?  Living out the dream, out on the road now for a couple weeks. So intimate with all that we had wanted.  All that we hoped for and all that we dreamed – the way it is and the way it could be.

But how long is it going to go on?  I’m gonna count on – I’m gonna hold out for – nothing much.  A little kindness, a little praise some days, I get so close but I don’t really touch – what I get, or what I need – the way it is and the way it could be.

Two brown dogs came out running cross the highway, panting and low to the ground.  And then – they were gone, for a moment, I had run them down.  I closed and opened my eyes.  They were running up the hill on the other side.  The way it is and the way it could be –


Well you called me – telephone ringing in the night.  And you asked me if I was alright – like an afterthought, an oversight.  And I stood, so surprised, trying to hold on to my pride.  So close, I could hear your low sigh. I said I was fine.  You said you were fine.

There’s a loneliness – I don’t lose sight of it. Like a high distant satellite, one side in shadow, one in light.

But I didn’t mind to be alone that night, in a city I’d never seen – all these skyscrapers pooling on a prairie. Built high and tall, as though they all compete just to reach the darkness up above that once here had been –

Somewhere – if there’s a beauty you had seen in me. That I wanted somehow to believe – drift of sentiment and memory.  That I couldn’t have, I could not keep, no, it never did belong to me, it was only ever another thing I would carry. Still it held me, loyalty, to a feeling, to some glimpse, of a love that was only ever a kind of distance. That we could not cross.  ‘Gather no moss.’


All spring I was driving.  Every river swollen with rain, every stream a torrent.  Over the highway bridges that run high across the plains, flooded.  ‘Half of the Maritimes,’ they say, ‘is running this way.’

I don’t expect your love to be like mine.  I trust you to know your own mind.  As I know mine.

Could it really be so effortless, all in my sight, many hillsides – green and black and distant and rivers serpentine, glinting. I know there’s so much it just can’t mean – you and me.  Still caught up in heartache and grief.  Yet to come, yet to cease.

I feel like I’m seeing double, all joy and all trouble.  My friends say ‘be careful’ or ‘be grateful’ ‘be glad’ or ‘thoughtful’ ‘don’t move too fast’ ‘don’t let it pass you by’. But I don’t expect your love to be like mine.  I trust you to know your own mind. As I know mine.


Shy women – you and I – shy, from knowing too well. Every time, as though it were mine, the bitterness that you hide so well.  I say nothing at all, thinking of your pride. And I tell you that you look well, and you roll your eyes and laugh, and we sit down together by the window, talking about the weather.

I should have told you – you looked so alight, elegant in the low sunlight.  Shoulders wide, as though in readiness to fight – something – you never even touch, never ask for too much, no, you can get by on almost nothing.  You and I – forever bluffing.  And ever so kind, shy women, shy.

Ice on the trees since New Years Eve, coming down in white sheets.  All white power lines, swaying high and heavy.  You were staring out, your eyes real straight – like nothing touches you these days.

It seemed to me that luxury would be to be not so ashamed.  Not to look away – even this, even this heaviness deserved no less than to always confess, every false smile.  To every loneliness, there’s a design, that we witness, you and I, shy women, shy.


I remember the dry grass of Nebraska, grey to distant blue. I stopped on hills like slumping shoulders, car cooling, I took off my shoes.  I drove out west with my sister, she talks more than I do.  When she fell silent still I’d miss her, the sound of the wind coming through.

I remember the smoky cups of coffee at the continental divide, mesas strange and red and snowy.  I felt like I’d arrived. I walked on the streets of California in the wail of car alarms. Men would shout out to me passing; a stranger with crossed arms.

I remember the subtlety of canyons black by the roadside; a cut in the rocks as I was passing, just a glimpse as you go by.  If there’s something you always are losing – you may not recognise.  If there’s something you always are choosing – something disguised.

Lately I find myself lonely – I wouldn’t have called it that before.  I always took it as a comfort – what all the distance was for. If you can’t leave clean as a statement – so true that you almost wince.  If you can’t leave, you get yourself taken – like a personal eclipse.


I listened; I always did listen to you. Singing all the way through – your life’s work: passion, caution, timing.  Try what you saw, and try what you knew, it was never always true. Your life’s work teasing you, like a statue, so dignified, so blind.

Well they take and take, but they don’t seem to receive, and you don’t sleep and there’s no money. Your life’s work, that you never can keep – few peaks, many valleys. Try as you might, try as you will you were never truly still. And you try what you saw, and you try what you love, it would never be enough.

Try as you might, try as you will you were never truly still.


Some people say that we look sisters, somehow, something in the eyes.  And I’d say ‘well you know I’m flattered’ and she’d say ‘yeah right!’ She’s always been so careful, nobody more faithful.  I’ve always been so careful, nobody more faithful.

When she moved out, sometimes he’d call me, I never should have answered.  Sometimes you give, you’re giving all you have, and sometimes you’re the taker.  Like the whole world went and slipped my way, and yet I didn’t want nothing so unequal. Like unearned praise, like someone I don’t recognise was looking back from my own eyes.

We’d sit and we’d find ourselves talking for hours, and sometimes she would cry, waving her hands as though to ward off something, telling you she’s fine –

Sometimes you have to decide what is wrong and what could be right.  But I was too ‘kind’, I was on every side.  As though to try to make amends for all the distances there have always been between you and I – me and the sky –


It started small – a simple thought.  That there was something wrong.  And if it’s caught I could set it right or at least, I could try.  All through the night and down in your eyes I mined and mined and mined.  Given time, what I looked for I would find; I was right I was right I was right.

And every word I overturned like a stone rolling easy.  And all I’d see hidden underneath only served to make me lonely.  Your trouble is like a lens through which the whole world bends and you can’t set it straight again.

Winter passed and summer storms came and flashed white in the evening.  You came in wet, you were laughing and grinning, shook my shoulders, tried to get me smiling.  The wind had changed and the rain was relentless, washing everything down the street again.  My slow heart wanted only what was endless – to be helpless.


I found the little tapes you kept under your bed, and I played and played and played them over and over again.  Years ago, walking alone, you sang ‘Oh’.

In your high strange voice, your feet scuffing along the pavement.  Trying to sing what you meant, late at night – it was too important.

I’m older now than you ever were, or ever would become.


You could go for hours months and days, in that half-hearted pinched kind of way.  And you don’t get too often to the bruise coloured lake, to stand, hands in your pockets.

Sometimes you don’t see nothing much there, sunken old moorings rusted out stairs, and white sailboats against the sky, not really knowing what you came there to find.

Not the building’s concrete spines. Not the bitterness you always can divine and pull from your heart like so much twine, ravelling unravelling, ravelling fine.

You got pretty lost there in your own mind, pathways to hallways to doorways blind.  All through the winter I could only stand by, watching you wake to the hardest kind of trouble with no guiding line, no guiding line.

I stood beside you; thin as a kite, wincing in the winds cool bite.  Telling me you’ll never get nothing right.  Laughing as you said it, in the low sunlight – so brief in November, and impossibly bright.


If he don’t mean it, he won’t say it, and I can tell.  If I don’t mean it, I can’t say it, and his face fell.

But it’s so seldom I believe it – it takes a clear kind of day. Like air so cold it hurts to breathe it.  (And the colour comes to my face.)  And I don’t tell my mother, I don’t tell my sister, something so tender I’d rather not speak it, even when I know it – that he’s mine.

Woke up thirsty, beset by memory, coming in swells.  And dreams stay with me, long into morning, strange wells.  I’ve been free, but I’ve known not freedom; like a kite.  It was a glimpse but I did see him; at full height. And what is left unspoken, is free, in the coming and the going, my heart knew only motion.  And I don’t even know him – but he’s mine.


Everything I Saw
I grew pale white lilacs and wild columbine – and all of it was mine.
In old recycling bins I grew watermelon vine – and all of it was mine.
And everything I saw seemed to get so small like from a speeding car, old familiar barns.

I made hard wheat bread, and rhubarb berry fool, and I gave it all to you.
I crumpled all my clothes and to the floor I threw them and turned right back to you.

My rotten softwood fence my sagging hydro line – all of it is mine.
The mice come in at night in the muddy streetlight shine see the hulking brown skyline –
all of it is mine.

And all the while I shrunk I pulled my clothes around like my body I could drown.

I dug up shattered glass and forgotten plastic trucks and coiled faded twine – and all of it is mine.
My buckling plaster walls, cracks snake and wind, all of it is mine.

And everything I knew I seemed to see right through like cheap cotton skirts like the Madawaska view.  All these things I knew.

Muddy white petunias, lobelia trails blue-eyed, all of it is mine.
Irises shot up high and white lilies tumbled shy, all of it is mine.

I dug up all my carrots with their wild orange hue, and I gave them all to you.
And all the words with which I didn’t know what to do, oh I said them all to you.

Came So Easy
Just cause it came so easy like quiet evenings in my kitchen.  Just cause it came so easy like little breezes of indecision.  Line of ants came crawling through the cracks there in my tiles. Sat there and I watched them as they pillaged in single file.
Just cause it came so freely I was loath to admit it. Just cause it came so quickly – I was startled like I had tripped. And I reached out an accusing hand to the treachery of the street.  Leaning as though in the wind you helped me to my feet.
Your kind words came so easy and I half winced at the sugar sweetness.  Made me feel so wealthy so I got tongue-tied, I got restless, and I opened my doors and windows to the many creatures of July.  Strange cats come in mewling, bugs that crawl and ones that fly, all my flour fell victim to slow and sullen moths, in the heat we both were gasping wrapped in dripping cloths.
Just cause you came so willing I never made you, I didn’t call for you, so sure i was needless but all the strange things of the dirt are obstinately drawn to sweetness bite through plastic through the masonry.  You came uninvited with a jar of your parent’s honey.

I felt just like a traveler as I went walking up my street.  Every building so familiar but it’s like I never seen em.  There’s the same rows of houses, row on row.  I felt just like a stranger as I set my key in the door, and lingered.  Standing there on the porch.  Little flecks on the brick, where the paint did not stick, I never could paint in the lines.  I felt just like a tourist, seeing it all for the first time.  Like a guest.  Unsure of what I might find.  I set down my boots where he would hang up his suits and I brushed the snow from my coat, to the skin I was soaked.

I felt just like a traveller, my eyes open wide.  Like a stranger, uncertain and shy.  Everybody’s so well meaning, everybody’s been so kind. Called to see if I been eating, wondered when to come by.

You should have called somebody before it ever came to this.  You should have called somebody.  I wish… I wish you’d called me.

I am trying… I am trying not to let words just shake me off.  They would slip and be gone like minnows. Just a silvery flash in the shadows. I would be blank like an unlit street sign.
On the bank just waiting on my line. Words would go and then I’d just be sitting there on your floor. Loving everything I see and no way to tell you what to look for. Then I’d forget – or have I already forgotten – all that I love as all the strings that pull me start to tauten.  I am trying – for what – I can’t place. I am trying for some kind of grace.


Chip on My Shoulder
You can have anything you could ever be wanting, the country will give you your fill.  I took their advice and I did what they told me, taking my turn as the shill.
Oh this chip on my shoulder I know it so well, sure as the backs of my hands.  And I try to be gracious, as ever I can, as gentle and kind as I can stand.
Oh all of them loved me, because I was empty.  And they saw in me something they could feed.  Cause we’re all overflowing, recklessly growing and the power comes from the need.
But for this chip on my shoulder I could have enjoyed their slippery honeyed embrace.  With gifts I would be showered if I don’ t disappoint, but I couldn’t keep to my place.
Oh I spoke to my sisters and the child of a friend but no promises could I keep.  Stay always emboldened and don’t reach for that crown but it’s a want that goes down so deep.
I guess that I could have had anything, but I didn’t want nothing in the end that wasn’t tied down.  And I don’t think that it matters to me so much as them and I’ll tell not a soul what I found.

Know it to See It
Take your bag, get in the car, get in the car.  And drive it.  Somewhere quiet.  Where you can sit at the wheel for a real short minute, smoking a cigarette.  Cause it’s time for it to leave you and you know it will go.  It’s long gone tucked under brush and scrub, overland, roadless.  Slipping through fences.  I know it to see it, I see it all the time.
You felt small and free like a kid, cause now it don’t care what you did.  Or what you might do.  You felt light, and somehow see through…
It’s not love, it’s not cause of love.  It’s not a blessing or a curse, I don’t know what it is.  But I know it to see it, and I know it when I don’t see it.  And I don’t see it in you.


Yarrow and Mint
It was the summer of scent, yarrow and mint.  How could I forget the slight still scent of blue vervain or common plantain?  I learned to know the names they been called, years ago.  Flowering mullein.  Harbinger of Spring.  In the heat, the air lay heavy on the street.  Sweating with smoke, lilac, and gasoline.  What are you looking for?  Something you never even seen.  Better to know all those weeds that ever will grow beneath your feet.

Running Around Asking
I went running around asking everybody I know.  I already asked my mother and the woman who lives next door.  I’ve been running around asking for so long.  I wanted to ask my grandmother, but I couldn’t get past the weather.  But it was good to sit together, on her couch of seafoam green.  All her secrets safe without me.  And I called up a friend who lives very far away.  I took up all her time in asking, but she didn’t know what to say.  I said I wouldn’t keep her, and I set down the phone.  Whined from the receiver the muffled dial tone.  You were outside smoking, standing out in the snow.  I’ve been running around asking like I don’t already know.

In the air, first scent of snow.  All along the ground the last milkweed silk blows.  Nobody’s ever going to tell you what they don’t want to know.  No.  Nobody’s ever going to tell you for they wish it was not so, better not to know.
It was hardwon, but I found my place.  It was hardwon but I found my place.  All I could wish upon you is the same.  It was hardwon, but I found my place.
And as soon as it’s found, I knew it would change.  I turned around and everything was strange.  Nobody’s ever going to tell you, for they wish it weren’t the case.  Once lost, not a trace.
But you could find yourself down by a lake.  About as wide and still as you can take.  With a gladness you just can’t shake.  Down by that cold, clear lake.

If I’ve Been Fooled
Years passed by, here by your side, but with one hand steady on the door.  And it took so long, staring back at you, to open the door and walk through.
And what if I been fooled?  By a story, or a song, or by a memory remembered wrong.  It’s gonna take so long to unravel the con, and by then I know that you’ll be gone.
And if I been fooled, it was not by you, but by a story with the ring of truth.  And a story takes only so long to tell and then it’s gone. And I will find out –

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