Love Deserves the Infinitive

To love
she took your hand in the wood
and when you cried over the math
in third grade
and the class snickered awkwardly
it was she rose without thinking
and stood at your desk
in the ruled foolscap of the morning,
the milk in
and the nettles and oaks
speaking at the window.

She had not learned much:
to make the action past,
to conjugate conditional —
not even bare
without a particle.

There was no loved,
nor could love,
nor if the rain had come
we would have loved.
Nor once above the mibs and taws
her shadow may.
But in the sucking clover,
disguised in a neat dress,
she invited atoms,
breathed like billows,
made everything whole
because she knew it whole.

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