The first time you held my hand
we were strangers in a land we only disparaged
at the end, in hindsight,
where houseplants grew as though
we had been shrunk beside them.
We weren’t together,
though as we climbed the guides
kept asking of your lady
friend, beckoning us as a pair
to alcoves curtained by lace-foam spill, to pools
where we two might trust ourselves and water
as we fell.
And like a chorus of clowns or beasts
we said together, “We’re not
together, not together,” until, toward the top,
the guides, their ropes of cameras kept up from the spray,
remembered, turned to each of us
in turn at the cave-end, the precipice,
the final wet at the crest of the climb.
I’ve lost the sense of how many times they asked,
how many flights since then have carried us together,
to meet at one end of the span that separates
one of us from the other of us,
in our off days not together, not together.