Two eyes, one nose, one mouth, and what could be
more perfect? Maybe the small fraction of
a smile she aims at his glance secretly
across the table, kabbalistic love
that no one else divines, and later in
the loft their silent battle not to wake
her friend down on the couch, who snores as thin
strained cries rain down. Maybe the way they take
the root of self, forgetting mine and yours,
and add one body to another, blue
sensation multiplied, one, two and four,
arithmetic of love they do as years
subtract themselves yet strangely add up to
how much, how many, and to how much more.
“Sad Jazz: Sonnets” (Sheep Meadow Press, 2005).
Tony Barnstone, the Albert Upton Professor of English at Whittier College, is the author of 13 books and the writer/producer of a CD of original music based on his book of World War II poems, “Tongue of War.” Among his awards are the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, a fellowship from the California Arts Council, the Poets Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.