My name is Calliope but some call me Pain,
pronounced like “rain.”
I am the lonely music.
I curl on the blue floor like a cat.
I spring from your heart like blood.
The cut flowers echo your mood—
They make a fist and punch air
but I kiss your ear,
knock on wood—
Are you glad I came?
The lonely music lives in you
like a person in a room,
and enters and leaves and returns,
telling you all that she learns:
The touch of a wet leaf, cool
as the scaffolding of a batwing.
In the school of sense, students sing
low notes in the key of grief.
You are the star there, the one who knows
my name: Despair.
I am the music that comes and goes.
from her book Natural Theology
Louisiana State University Press, 1988
used with permission of the poet