Poem for Three Years

Jameson Fitzpatrick

How with several intermissions
I misspent my early twenties chasing

after a man more than twice my age,

sad and famous. It felt
inevitable, to be known

by association, in a long tradition
of geniuses’ wives. Françoise Gilot
on Picasso: a catastrophe

I didn’t want to avoid. Yes,
it was like that—a stepping out

into the traffic of great thinkers and doers,
late dinners with people who for years

I had read, read about.
It was a waking into the dream I’d tended
since the provincial valley of childhood.

near the beginning of this story,
he came back

from visiting Julian Assange
on house arrest in England,
a country manor with a farm.

Some piglets
had just been born

and they reminded him of me

he told me in bed his first night home:
pink and cute, inspiring

the desire to touch them,
to excite them.

It was the end of the summer
Julian was the most wanted man in the world

and I had the distinct feeling of finally
having done something right,

to have been selected

as though on the basis of some
essential, exceptional quality.
How good I looked naked.

I can admit now
it was a mistake, to fall

for the myth of satisfaction
in other people, in another,

and graver still, to try
to hold a man who values the untamed
above all else, above love.

But would I take it back—
when longing for him was longing

for an idea, an image of myself? No.
The truth: I wanted to be a muse then

more than I wanted to be an artist,
but the spell just didn’t take. To break new

I had to be broken.