The steady time of being unknown,
in solitude, without friends,
is not a steadiness that sustains.
I hear your voice waver on the phone:
Haven’t talked to anyone for days.
I drive around. I sit in parking lots.
The voice zeroes through my ear, and waits.
What should I say? There are ways
to meet people you will want to love?
I know of none. You come out stronger
having gone through this? I no longer
believe that, if I once did. Consider a move,
a change, a job, a new place to live,
someplace you’d like to be. That’s not it,
you say. Now time turns back. We almost touch.
Then what is? I ask. What is?
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.