The Only Work
In memory of Agha Shahid Ali When a poet leaves to see to all that matters, nothing has changed. In treasured places still he clears his head and writes. None of his joie-de-vivre or books or friends or ecstasies go with him to the piece he waits for and begins, nor is he here in this. The only work that bonds us separates us for all time. We feel it in a handshake, a hug that isn't ours to end. When a verse has done its work, it tells us there'll be one day nothing but the verse, and it tells us this the way a mother might inform her son so gently of a matter he goes his way delighted.
From The Nerve by Glyn Maxwell. Copyright © 2002 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.