Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


One Day

One day the patterned carpet, the folding chairs,

the woman in the blue suit by the door examining her split ends,

 

all of it will go on without me. I’ll have disappeared,

as easily as a coin under lake water, and few to notice the difference

 

—a coin dropping into the darkening—

and West 4th Street, the sesame noodles that taste like too much peanut butter

 

lowered into the small white paper carton—all of it will go on and on—

and the I that caused me so much trouble? Nowhere

 

or grit thrown into the garden

or into the sticky bodies of several worms,

 

or just gone, stopped—like the Middle Ages,

like the coin Whitman carried in his pocket all the way to that basement

 

bar on Broadway that isn’t there anymore.

Oh to be in Whitman’s pocket, on a cold winter day,

 

to feel his large warm hand slide in and out, and in again.

To be taken hold of by Walt Whitman! To be exchanged!

 

To be spent for something somebody wanted and drank and found delicious.

Credit


Copyright © 2017 by Marie Howe. From Magdalene​ (W. W. Norton, 2017). Used with permission of the author.

Author


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: 2017-08-28

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/one-day-0