“Poetry Punishes You for Your Absence” by Julianna Baggott

She’s not an easy lover who simply
tilts her head when you appear on the front stoop.

You hope the porch light will cast heavenly redemption
like a church-basement Christmas pageant.

No, there’s scowling, silence. And when finally
she takes you to the tub to wash away the world’s filth,

you’re always shocked, no matter how many times
you’ve strayed, that she doesn’t gently cup your head,

but dunks it, again and again,
a baptism that just won’t take.

“Poetry Punishes You for Your Absence” published in Compulsions of Silk Worms and Bees, (LSU Press) by Julianna Baggott. Copyright © 2007 by Julianna Baggott.