I love you, of course, and do you know
who else I love? Your mother, your father
and of course your sister, and then I walk
out into the street and I love everybody
in sight, but what can I do about it?
I can’t enter their homes, chanting,
I love you. Your house is the only one
I know at present that would let me in,
so let me love you as if you were everybody
and I was everybody’s lover. It’s a fine
compromise for today, as long as we know
we’re not being exclusive with each other.
The thing is that as I love you I do want
to feel love in return. Waiting
for your reply, Signed,
David Ignatow (1914–1997) was a poet and editor. He published twenty-two collections of his poetry, and his numerous honors included a Bollingen Prize, two Guggenheim fellowships, the John Steinbeck Award, the Frost Medal, and the William Carlos Williams Award. Over the course of his career he was an editor of American Poetry Review, poetry editor of The Nation, president of The Poetry Society of America, and many other roles.