Like that time when all I wanted

was to hole up in my room. I had allowed myself

to be forgiven, and there I was feeling

this pathetic, incriminating gratefulness.

Or at my favorite professor's dinner party

when I gave birth to what I thought

was a new idea, and the room fell quiet

with tolerance. I still hear that tolerance.

Or that evening I forgave her her betrayal

because it lessened mine, and found myself

for once the forgiver, trying to enjoy that rare

high ground. Poisonous, the air up there.