I Could Take

      by Hayden Carruth


I could take

two leaves

   and give you one.

Would that not be

a kind of perfection?


But I prefer

one leaf

   torn to give you half



(after these years, simply)

love’s complexity in an act,

   the tearing and

      the unique edges—


one leaf (one word) from the two

imperfections that match.



From From Snow and Rock, From Chaos, 1973. I read this poem to my wife as part of our wedding ceremony.