Sanctuary

Sometimes I am serious. I want a strong, severe companion.
I am uncompromising in my desires. My list of requirements
is long and specific. My high-minded intentions are kept
with a ruthless insistence for the best.
I zealously guard my threshold.

The floor, freshly swept,
is readied for the weight of my great love.
As a servant waits for his master to return, I keep
a vigilant watch for him. You will know him by himself. There are proxies —
there are shortcuts — there are myriad ways to measure.

Some of this work is handled by your circle, the vetting facilitated
by trusted few. You think, “I will wait,”
and care not to spoil your neatly kept home. You think
the air will be more pure if not everyone enters. You think
being austere gives you strength of character. Your refusal is your power.

Husband your heart and guard against hurt.
Keep them at bay without being reserved.
Insist for yourself—make the standards clear.
In your quiet vigil, you are not sure he will arrive.
It’s been some time

and the room and the room has gone unused.
There are other places to welcome guests. The parlour,
the drawing room, the library. All manner of intimacies
are welcome there. Friends new, old, and dear. Family.
People in aggregates — the thems over there. The night seems

interminable. You’ve refilled the lantern thrice.
When no guests are here and you keep yourself occupied —
you work, you write — all is fine.
Yet you walk through the home and see
the room barren and unused. Plainly furnished, a side

table nested against a worn armchair, a once faded,
once plush rug, the tomes once read.
When you forget the room, you are unconsciously happy.
Sometimes — sometimes — when you go over your home —
your stores of memories,

your few keepsakes —you remember the hope and promise
of the room. You occasionally fret only to relax.
You know why the room is as is. Leave the door open.
The perfumed air permeates your home.
A memorial — a nursery — a sanctuary harboring bliss.

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