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. When I first bought a copy of this book in June of 1985, I decided to do so purely because of this poem. I also read this poem to my wife as part of our wedding ceremony in 2001.