Should, Should Not

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Should, Should Not

(after a poem by Czeslaw Milosz)

A woman should not love a man, but if she does,
she should keep the child of their breath close to her heart.

A woman should not love a man, but if she does,
her house should be clean and tidy, her dinner-pots

full. Her garden should smell of lilacs and roses.
A man, when he loves a woman, should not use words

that are dear to her, or split open her heart to
find what’s inside. She should never look over her

shoulder when crossing over his threshold (or so
our mothers teach us). When she crawls into his bed

at night, she may memorize his sleeping face as
a reminder of what will not last forever.

Excerpts from
Love in the Time of Dinosaurs

Field Trip to the Serpent Mound

The Lies Our Parents Tell Us

Portrait of the Poet as a Woman

Holiday

The Toast

Auggie Vernon and the Eclipse

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Love in the Time of Dinosaurs
© 1980-1986, 2000-2007, 2013 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman.
May not be reprinted or excerpted without written permission.
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