Perhaps we thought their authors incomplete:
dimwitted, slightly dull, undignified.
They might have laughed too loud, appeared too sweet;
it’s harder to be loved than vilified.

Whatever words became love’s epitaph,
their lines still call to us from musty drawers.
The wounded stumble through each paragraph,
spilling flowers and wine and metaphors.

Their high-pitched voices squeal love’s declarations,
singing praises that we’ve never earned,
and yet we keep these feeble accusations,
too beautiful, too clumsy to be burned.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 20 Number 3, on page 36
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