Long Companions (audio only)
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Looking out at Constable’s distances,
nothing I wanted to be, what I am.
He grows on you, Constable, so childish
at the beginning, toy farms, slow pastures,
the small trees bundled up as if for sale,
everything schooled out and diminished in
the direction of Salisbury—or
is it Dedham?—1804, thirty,
The last of my kind, one of the last lovers of flowers
and the lawns of the northern grasses, and certainly
one of the few able to rub backsides with the baobab
and the century-nearing oak still surviving in the yard.
When did I know that I’d have to carry it around
in order to have it when I need it, say in a pocket,
the dark itself not dark enough but needing to be
added to, handful by handful if necessary, until
the way my mother would sit all night in a room
without the lights, smoking, until she disappeared?