Why We Love Evil
Wallace Stevens hated Robert Frost.
He’d seen that New England poet in the bar
one summer in Key West.
Normally, Frost would sit next
to Stevens in the sun, and they would read
newspapers. When it got too hot,
each gathered his towel, slapped
on sandals, trundling off
to small, thatch-roofed cottages
on the leeward side of the Key.
There’s nothing to say about
the violence Stevens knew: a whipping
through a candle-lit
window, some bruises the next
day at the beach. So when the queen
of the water appeared to Wallace one
afternoon in a dream, with her hands
pretty and shorn of rings, save
a glittering red pearl, he shouted
at night, to his rival: I’ve seen
you mean and I’ve seen you walking
the strand for an answer
the sea might give you
about violence, about love.
Whisper not about its threats,
the way it sweeps endlessly
into all of us like air.