This entry is part 43 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


If, as Rumi once wrote, The price
of kissing is my life
: at least

this morning, let me not think
about all that there is too

much of— the weight of living
accrued in collapsible boxes,

all the kisses that have morphed
into deeds and contracts, the kisses

now overlaid with the smell of musty
evenings in old countries, those

that smack of the toil that comes
of trying to sweeten others’ days—

Surely there is room for some plain,
no-strings-attached kissing, surely

a way to modulate the hum of that one
cicada in the trees so its voice lifts,

doesn’t merely drown, in a chorus of other
insistent voices? Surely there must be a way

to lengthen the echoes of light sifting
in the leaves and through damp lattices

of neighbors’ fences; to dwell without
rancor or remorse in moments when I

might press my face against your nape
to catch that drifting note—

unnameable, unmistakable, stirring
even my sorrows into fragrance.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Morning LessonSong of the Seamstress’s Daughter →

4 Replies to “Reprieve”

  1. Surely there must be a way… /…to dwell without/rancor or remorse in moments when I /might press my face against your nape/to catch that drifting note—/unnameable, unmistakable, stirring/even my sorrows into fragrance.


    It is the way of beauty and of virtue you require,
    the canon forgotten in our striving for the wind.

    Come hither, anyway, hide your pain in the cup
    of my hands, find that reprieve from a judgment

    of endlessly inchoate loving, and let your heart
    rest from its ceaseless running. Escape stops here.

    Should I then pledge fealty to being your gaoler?
    Should I find you an open cage to freely return to?

    But these will only be tethers that must bind you
    when all you pray for is to be loved and unafraid.

    Now, therefore, with all my courage, and all
    that I can grant, I absolve you from this price

    of laying your life down for the countless kisses
    you have given and not taken any in return.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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