Louise Gluck

Parable of Flight

A flock of birds leaving the side of the mountain. 
Black against the spring evening, bronze in early summer,
rising over blank lake water. 

Why is the young man disturbed suddenly,
his attention slipping from his companion?
His heart is no longer wholly divided; he's trying to think
how to say this compassionately. 

Now we hear the voices of the others, moving through the library
toward the veranda, the summer porch; we see them
taking their usual places on the various hammocks and chairs,
the white wood chairs of the old house, rearranging
the striped cushions. 

Does it matter where the birds go? Does it even matter
what species they are?
They leave here, that's the point,
first their bodies, then their sad cries.
And from that moment, cease to exist for us. 

You must learn to think of our passion that way. 
Each kiss was real, then
each kiss left the face of the earth. 

- Louise Gluck