Monday’s Poem: ‘Echo,’ by John Poch

The Chronicle - I couldn’t understand the thing he told me. He said he couldn’t make it any clearer: I’d rather die of thirst than have you hold me.

I couldn’t understand the thing he told me.
He said he couldn’t make it any clearer:
I’d rather die of thirst than have you hold me.

Hold me, I said. His elegance consoled me,
and his refusal made him all the dearer.
I couldn’t understand. The thing he told me,

twice (how could anyone repeat it?), bowled me
over. I put it to myself, and queerer:
I’d rather die of thirst than have you hold me?

Give me a look at least, I wished. Behold me!
You wish, he mocked and looked toward his mirror.
I couldn’t understand the thing he told me.

Perhaps our likenesses, not love, controlled me.
Then something turned and spoke in me. I hear her:
I’d rather die of thirst then have you hold me,

is what I should have said to draw him nearer.
We have in common our redundant error.
I couldn’t understand the thing he told me:
I’d rather die of thirst than have you hold me.

©  by John Poch.  Printed by permission of the author.

John Pochteaches in the creative writing program at Texas Tech University.  His most recent book is Dolls (Orchises Press, 2009).  He is the editor of 32 Poems Magazine.

Read the rest of the story at The Chronicle of Higher Education