in the first place

for Mary

You wouldn’t, would you, ask me to make a lasting vow of love, or to live with you or marry, trying to forget all those other women whom I call my friends, rather, make a final understanding, that they are my friends and that I have no one else to love me, but you and nothing up my sleeve, except a guilt lining lying about loving you in the first place because you were always too good for me and knew better than I did anyway, that I’d try to love any woman, especially you who thought so much of me, as to want me to love her, although you’re the only one who ever did, and wouldn’t ask me, as I said?

19 January 1975