Click here to listen to Frank Bidart read this poem.
Barred from the pool twenty-three years ago, still I dove
straight in. You loved to swim, but saw no water.
Whenever Ray Charles sings “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
I can’t stop loving you. Whenever the unstained-by-guilt
cheerful chorus belts out the title, as his voice, sweet
and haggard reminder of what can never be remedied,
answers, correcting the children with “It’s useless to say,”
the irreparable enters me again, again me it twists.
The red man was pressed from this part of the West—
’tis unlikely he’ll ever return to the banks of Red River, where
seldom, if ever, their flickering campfires burn.