I'll begin with a poem written when still in my twenties, one that I can never decide whether to call a love poem, or an end-of-love poem, or a poem simply of time and our largest forms of connection within it, because it is all those things.
For What Binds Us
There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they’ve been set down —
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.
And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
than the simple, untested surface before.
There’s a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,
as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest —
And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.
from Each Happiness Ringed by Lions (Bloodaxe, 2005) © Jane Hirshfield 2005, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books.