“The Pure Loneliness” by Michael Ryan.

Late at night, when you’re so lonely
your shoulders lean to the center of your body,
you call no one and you don’t call out.

This is dignity. This is the pure loneliness
that made Christ think he was God.
This is why lunatics smile at their thoughts.

Even the best moment, as you slip
half-a-foot deep into someone you like,
deepens to the loneliness in it

and loneliness that’s not. If you believe in
Christ hanging on the cross, his arms spread
as if to embrace the Father he calls

who is somewhere else, you still might hear
your own voice at your next great embrace
thinking Loneliness in another can’t be touched,

like Christ’s voice at death answering himself.


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