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  • By Michael R. Burch


There are days that I believe

(and nights that I deny)

love is not mutilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There are tightropes leaps bereave—

taut wires strumming high

brief songs, infatuations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were cannon shots’ soirees,

hearts barricaded, wise . . .

and then . . . annihilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were nights our hearts conceived

untruths reborn as sighs.

To dream was our consolation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were acrobatic leaves

that tumbled down to lie

at our feet, bright trepidations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were hearts carved into trees—

tall stakes where you and I

left childhood’s salt libations . . .

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

Where once you scraped your knees;

love later bruised your thighs.

Death numbs all, our sedation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

Michael R. Burch is the editor of The HyperTexts, on-line at, where he has published hundreds of poets over the past three decades. His poetry has been translated into fourteen languages, taught in high schools and colleges around the globe, incorporated into three plays and two operas, and set to music by seventeen composers. A five-time Pushcart nominee, his poems, translations and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, including The Lyric, New Lyre, Romantics Quarterly, The Chained Muse, LIGHT, Measure, Southwest Review, The Chariton Review, The Chimaera, Brief Poems, Poem Today, Asses of Parnassus, Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing and The Best of the Eclectic Muse.


Mar 19, 2023

I know this poem well Michael, and I have always loved it, so I'm really glad to see it republished here. In my view, it's a very fine example of how to write a meaningful and realistic love poem. And very few modern poets can do that, or even be brave enough to try. Sublime.

Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch
Apr 12, 2023
Replying to

The woman in my poem is not someone I knew, but someone I imagined based on my relationships with girls and women I knew.

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