Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Map

The failure of love might account for most of the suffering in the world.

The girl was going over her global studies homework   

in the air where she drew the map with her finger 

touching the Gobi desert,

the Plateau of Tiber in front of her,

and looking through her transparent map backwards

I did suddenly see,

how her left is my right, and for a moment I understood.


Copyright © 2016 by Marie Howe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“The Map was once part of a longer poem. As often happens, over time the first part of that poem fell away and what remained was this.”
—Marie Howe


Marie Howe

Marie Howe was born in 1950 in Rochester, New York. She worked as a newspaper reporter and teacher before receiving her MFA from Columbia University in 1983. She currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2016-10-27

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