… my black eyed lover … by Maxine Kumin …

I think this is my favorite poem of all time …

The Masochist – by Maxine Kumin

My black-eyed lover broke my back,
that hinge I swung on in and out
and never once thought twice about,

expecting a lifetime guarantee.
He snapped that simple hinge for me.
My black-eyed lover broke my back.

All delicate with touch and praise
he one by one undid the screws
that held the pin inside its cup

and when I toppled like a door
–his bitch, his bountiful, his whore–
he did not stay to lift me up.

Beware of black-eyed lovers. Some
who tease to see you all undone,
who taste and take you in the game

will later trample on your spine
as if they never called you mine,
mine, mine.

I have loved it since I was in my twenties … and wept the first time I read it … which tells you something.

 

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