August 5, 2002
Last night I counted your breaths while you slept.
Towards morning, I lost count, but
you awoke a few minutes later,
so I rounded the number off
and privately recorded your many thousands of sleeping
breaths, in the journal of love I am making for you.
This entry: the night I counted your breaths while you slept.
I wanted to do this.
I wanted to have a secret way of loving you,
so that all the known ways I love you
can have a private underside,
a place where love is always new and mysterious.
I know that you count my breaths while I am awake.
Somewhere, inside the often-painful activity of your mind,
you find a peaceful grotto, and there
you count my breaths, without even knowing you are doing it.
Your love is so constant, it is a place I can go where fear does not exist,
has never existed.
I must practice harder than you, to love.
I must keep awake and make vigil, sometimes,
so that, while you dream,
I am doing something important,
being the clock of your breath,
helping you sleep.
I can do nothing more loving for you
than to help you sleep.
You always wanted someone to watch over you.
You felt abandoned and alone.
With this secret, I heal you.
I count the long slow breaths, I catch at the sudden twitches,
I invent words to accompany your dream-mumbled incoherences.
I might show you this poem, if it will make you happy.
I wanted it to be a secret. But tomorrow night, or the next,
I will do it again, or I will do something else,
find another way to love you,
something only I could think of doing,
and only you could understand
why I have done it.