(9 May - 9 June 1994) after John Greenleaf Whittier

L. was well-prepared for independence. Her father was a big man who spent his days at the dairy. Large bones boiled on the stove all day at home, where her mother felt sorry enough for herself to drink a little too much. She might have been famous with her rich deep voice, more than just a nightclub singer. L. would be the dairy queen but she wouldn’t make her mother’s sacrifices. Making the best of the indecision of Gemini, she chose not to settle down but to ride the waves over and over as long as she were able. T. had wanted something more settled than a fling and the suggestions in the lilt of her voice. His parents were from broken homes, determined that this one would hold, that work would persevere, that love would be true. Raising four kids on a military salary in a trailer towed from state to state, this family never questioned the sacrifices it had to make. T. wrote a poem meant as a contrast to L.'s interest in uncertainty, including “when I’m in the living room, I sit on the couch.” L. replied without words, which led T., like the duckling and the deer, from fascination to love, moving swiftly from love to longing. For T., poetry balanced longing with observations of reality. For L., poetry balanced desire for freedom with sensitivity and generosity. But no clear principles govern human behavior, clearly neither free will nor natural design. A duckling that imprints on the first thing it sees, a wild deer that eats from the hand. Random notes sometime harmonize but only one note out of key makes wrong the chord, unsettles the composition. Love in a world far from the world in which it evolved, isn’t necessarily love. Separation, new lives that old friendships cannot deny, old lovers cannot follow. His romantic pain, learning how to cope; her abandonment, escape, wave after wave. Is love giving and trying to give? Do we know what it is? A school, a menagerie, a city, a jungle, an unwitting performance, a conjunction of stars— a thousand friends masquerade their answers. It isn’t longing, it isn’t being free, and many of our feelings are only side effects.