Belated Clarification

I tried to tell you gently. What I meant,
I meant. I didn’t mean the word you heard
flip like salmon upstream into bird.
I tried to tell you. Gently. What I meant
by loving you, dear friend, you misconstrued
as loving you: your lips, your longing’s firmament.
I tried to tell you gently what I meant.
I meant—I didn’t mean—the word you heard.