If I had known you were coming, back then,
when I first thought love could be the thing
to save me after all—if I had known, would I
have still glued myself to the back of his motorcycle
while we flew across the starless bridge
over the East River to where I grew
my first garden behind the wire fencing,
in the concrete raised beds lined by ruby
twilight roses? If I had known it would be you,
who even then I liked to look at, across a room,
always listening rigorously, a self-questioning look,
the way your mouth was always your mouth,
would I have climbed back on that bike again
and again until even I was sick with fumes
and the sticky seat too hot in the early fall?
If I had known, would I have still made mistake
after mistake until I had only the trunk of me left,
stripped and nearly bare of leaves myself?
If I had known, the truth is, I would have kneeled
and said, Sooner, come to me sooner.