Truth

A. Van Jordan

Albert Einstein to Mileva Maric

Your eyes hold enough lies
Day-to-day walking through the market,
A woman walking freely without
The sleight of hand of my skin, this peccadillo.

What rests inside me will rise
Out my mouth to kiss you, to kiss
My confession into you each day, Mileva.
Will the truth offer you some freedom

Or will I simply invite you to sit in my prison?
Wouldn’t life play better if you visited me
In this cell, conjugal visits in which we pretend
We’re free? I’ll ask for you to come to me,

And I’ll tell you to leave me, eternally
Coming and going like the rain. I told you
Only that I’m a man, only through how I hold you,
How I look in your eyes, like stars announce

They’re stars by the dance and death of their light.
But you look sad as if you know now
What you must not know.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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A. VAN JORDAN is author of Rise (Tia Chucha Press, 2001), winner of the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award. For his second collection, M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (W.W. Norton & Co., 2004), he was awarded a Whiting Writers Award and an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. A Pushcart Prize winner, he teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.

This poem is from his third collection, Quantum Lyrics (W.W. Norton & Co., 2007).