The hornet holds on to the curtain, winter
sleep. Rubs her legs. Climbs the curtain.
Behind her the cedars sleep lightly,
like guests. But I am the guest.
The ghost cars climb the ghost highway. Even my hand
over the page adds to the 'room tone': the little
constant wind. The effort of becoming. These words
are my life. The effort
of loving the un-become. To make the suffering
visible. The un-become love: What we
lost, a leaf, what we cherish, a leaf.
One leaf of grass. I'm sending you this seed-pod,
this red ribbon, my tongue,
these two red ribbons, my mouth,
my other mouth,
- but the other world - blindly I guzzle
the swimming milk of its seed field flower -
"Letter" from Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965-2003 (Wesleyan University Press, 2003), © Jean Valentine 2003, used by permission of the author and the publisher