The obvious is difficult To prove. Many prefer The hidden. I did, too. I listened to the trees. They had a secret Which they were about to Make known to me— And then didn’t. Summer came. Each tree On my street had its own Scheherazade. My nights Were a part of their wild Storytelling. We were Entering dark houses, Always more dark houses, Hushed and abandoned. There was someone with eyes closed On the upper floors. The fear of it, and the wonder, Kept me sleepless. The truth is bald and cold, Said the woman Who always wore white. She didn’t leave her room. The sun pointed to one or two Things that had survived The long night intact. The simplest things, Difficult in their obviousness. They made no noise. It was the kind of day People described as “perfect.” Gods disguising themselves As black hairpins, a hand-mirror, A comb with a tooth missing? No! That wasn’t it. Just things as they are, Unblinking, lying mute In that bright light— And the trees waiting for the night.
From The Book of Gods and Devils, published by Harcourt Brace & Company, 1990. Copyright © 1990 by Charles Simic. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the author.
The more I go, the harder it becomes to return. To anywhere. There is no one at the ocean this morning. I walked by the campsites and smelled eggs and pancakes. And there were sweet Oregon cherries and watermelon. I wonder if I can go back—what purpose there would be in it—or in any other thing? There’s something expensive both ways. Yesterday a woman told me to get a tide schedule and if the people refused to give it to me, I had to insist. She usually gets hers from the Hilton but I don’t know where that is so I just imagine the schedule. There is a tide. I can tell that much about anything. What’s before me, what isn’t. How it got there is a mystery involving only itself—I have no part in that, none at all—my job remains in the thing as it is in the moment it’s before me, having left all of its other places, having come this far to show up at all.
Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Denrow. Used with permission of the author.