If you were here, my love,
I would tear the pages of my books,

pleat them into baskets for collecting cherries,
the kind that do not bleed.

I would strip the bark from birches
and build a coffin for our fears

clouds would carry it to Rome.
I would turn into a river fluke

to enter the soft soles of your feet.
And I would lie with you

on the stone floor of the chapel,
morning light filtering through panes.

My love, if you were here,
you would fog the cold surface

of my soul with your breath,
and I would turn to you

and say, if you were not
here, Héloise would be writing.

          Natasha Sajé

Editor's Note:  First appeared in Luna Spring
NATASHA SAJÉ is the author of a book of poems, Red Under the Skin (Pittsburgh, 1994), and many essays. She teaches at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and in the Vermont College MFA in Writing program.