Once, after Pushkin
by Carol Rumens
I loved you once
D'you hear a small "I love you"
Each time we're forced to meet?
Don't groan, don't hide!
A damaged tree can live without a bud:
No one need break the branches and uncover
The green that should have danced, dying inside
I loved you, knowing I'd never be your lover
And now? I wish you summers of leaf-shine
And leaf-shade, and a face in dreams above you
As tender and as innocent as mine.