This is the moment when you see again the red berries of the mountain ash and in the dark sky the birds' night migrations. It grieves me to think the dead won't see them— these things we depend on, they disappear. What will the soul do for solace then? I tell myself maybe it won't need these pleasures anymore; maybe just not being is simply enough, hard as that is to imagine.
From Averno by Louise Glück, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Copyright (c) 2006 by Louise Glück. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.
In your extended absence, you permit me use of earth, anticipating some return on investment. I must report failure in my assignment, principally regarding the tomato plants. I think I should not be encouraged to grow tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold the heavy rains, the cold nights that come so often here, while other regions get twelve weeks of summer. All this belongs to you: on the other hand, I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly multiplying in the rows. I doubt you have a heart, in our understanding of that term. You who do not discriminate between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence, immune to foreshadowing, you may not know how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf, the red leaves of the maple falling even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible for these vines.
From The Wild Iris, published by The Ecco Press, 1992. Copyright © 1992 by Louise Glück. All Rights reserved. Used with permission.