Tell and Tell
We cannot ask for secrets; they will tell
their tales in dawn or twilight in their time--
calm captives with the keys to their own cells.
And furthermore we hold them close, like spells
which once misused might ruin the sublime.
We cannot ask for secrets. (They will tell
their monstrous history in images from Hell,
in seafoam shades of punishment and crime,
calm captives with the keys to their own cells.)
You’re drinking gin and tonics from the well
and thinking sin and phonics laced with lime:
(She hasn’t asked for secrets, but you’ll tell
the way your body floated on the swell
of drowning waves engorged with killing slime
and calmly captured keys to your own cell.)
And will your naked words in me impel
the catalytic honesty enzyme?
We cannot ask for secrets; they will tell—
Calm. Captive. Copying keys to their own cells.