Poetry

GOOD AS I AM

Good as I am to you, what use
am I to you,
you who shine so baldly
like a light bulb on a stand?

Good as I am to you, with all
the concern I dole out like oats,
whenever something happens
that might knock you about –

But no, you soar undaunted,
a soprano with an icy trill
who can extinguish any feeling
by a triumph of will.

Good as I am to you, you fence out
the horizon,
remind me I am not your
one true love –

that might diminish
the stature of my forebears,
and you are, if anything,
fair.

Good as I am to you, though you
will not concede it,
batting back the advantage
gained by a present

with one of your own,
tit for tat.
You will not even
take off your hat,

so as not to inconvenience
the stand,
afraid that it might
make demands on you,

like my rash proposal
sitting in a gazebo
in Gundagai,
on the way home to Melbourne.

You smiled the smile
of good sense,
and explained,
as if to a child that though

I made you happy in the
present tense, you could not
mount the pretence
of forever, whatever that meant.

Good as I am to you, you do not
stay when I ask you to:
instead you look through the cab window
and have the driver toot his horn.

Pity the stand that
holds up a light bulb:
it is
burning and forlorn.