52. To A Stranger
PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,
I ate with you, & slept with you – your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass – you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you – I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake up at night alone,
I am to wait – I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
“Leaves of Grass” (1900)
The allegory of the stranger & the ironic feeling – the familiar, silver, innermost twist – oh, how well I know it. & the wait too, always the wait. Selah.