It turns out however that I was deeply Mistaken about the end of the world The body in flames will not be the body In flames but just a house fire ignored The black sails of that solitary burning Boat rubbing along the legs of lovers Flung into a Roman sky by a carousel The lovers too sick in their love To notice a man drenched in fire on a porch Or a child aflame mistaken for a dog Mistaken for a child running to tell of a bomb That did not knock before it entered In Gaza with its glad tidings of abundant joy In Kazimierz a god is weeping In a window one golden hand raised Above his head as if he’s slipped On the slick rag of the future our human Kindnesses unremarkable as the flies Rubbing their legs together while standing On a slice of cantaloupe Children You were never meant to be human You must be the grass You must grow wildly over the graves
Copyright © 2018 by Roger Reeves. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 19, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we’re not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
did I lean from any window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen here with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move toward me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer,
the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes: we thought we’d live forever.
At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.
I touch you knowing we weren’t born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.
Poem III from "Twenty-One Love Poems," from The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977 by Adrienne Rich. Copyright © 1978 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.