Pleasure me not, for love’s pleasure drained me
Deep as an artesian well;
The pitiless blood-letter veined me.
Long grew the parasite before its fill.
Lover, smile the other way, nor ply me with evil
Who am surfeited and taste the shadows of gray;
Nor sway me with promises to rouse my thirst
And fill me with that passion beyond lust;
Not romp my body in the wake of the mind’s play.
How tired, how enervated, how becalmed I am.
That island toward which I strove in my salt tides
Has drifted out beyond the listless swell and formed
A hostile continent. I am amorphous with all deflowered brides,
Who, with their floodgates sundered, drowned when they were stormed.
From The Essential Ruth Stone by Ruth Stone, ed. Bianca Stone. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press.