Published on Academy of American Poets (

North-Looking Room

In a seldom-entered attic
you force a balky door,
disclosing a room made brilliant
by an orange tree whose branches bear

no fruit but maple leaves;
We’re in New England, after all.
Though rippling foliage fills
the pane, the flush that tints the wall

will last a week or two, no more.


And this conception, if consoling,
of a high, untenanted room
lit solely by a tree
houses as well–at least for those

who’d sidestep round the fear
that in the give-and-take of calls
to answer, calls to make,
we lose the light most dim, most clear—

a reprimand no breeze can shake.


Excerpted from Curves and Angles by Brad Leithauser Copyright © 2006 by Brad Leithauser. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Brad Leithauser

Brad Leithauser is the author of several poetry collections, including The Oldest Word for Dawn: New and Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013).

Date Published: 2006-01-01

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