I Failed Him And He Failed Me

By Katie Ford

I failed him and he failed me—
Together our skinned glance makes a sorry bridge
For some frail specter who can’t get through.

I failed him
but maybe it was the lamp that failed,
Maybe it was the meal,
Maybe it was the potter
Who would not intervene, maybe the clay,
Maybe the plateau’s topaz, too steady to help,
Or was it the meat cut two days late, was it
The deciduous branch and its dull wait for bloom—

But I remember the small thing rotating in us
Towards hunger, how it did not fail to guide,
And that we made no request of our souls or all souls
Or the one perfectly distant soul
and so did not fail in what we did not do,
Never begging at the sky but moving
On the islands beneath it, hungry together by its rivers and bones.

Who told us we had failed
If not the human world gone wrong?

It was the world?

Ah, then we will fail again and again in the waters apart,
Bridging nothing, bridging nowhere
Towards what we, failures, are.

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