Against the Symbolism of Small Losses
So you've lost your keys,
your life's in ruin, over-
turning your simple afternoon.
Maybe it's the accrual
of all those other losses—
the stolen wallet, a shattered window,
the peach sweater stained
a deep cranberry red—
that's pushed you over the edge,
made you bleat your woe is me
to every neighbor.
What about your house? Intact.
The car: parked exquisitely
at your pleasant curbside.
Your dog: wagging a doggy tail.
But maybe you're thinking
in bigger terms, one loss leading
to all the others, first cousins
to the final disappearance
of everything you love.
Frankly, today, it's only made you
late for the movies, where your wife
has already found two seats together,
her head finding your easy shoulder
while a river of credits rolls along
and the music rises,
and the ticket stubs in your hand—
in spite of everything you know—
feel like crisp hundred dollar bills.
There's the lush grass again,
the white pines green and mysterious.
And the barn, too, in the distance,
fading red, the color of longing.
The afternoon light is gilding the hillside,
the clouds are moving together,
huge, incipient thoughts,
and you're swooning with desire
wanting the beautiful to lie down with you,
gold-leaf your fingertips and tongue,
green you with fragrance
though you don't know exactly
what you're after, whether it's beauty itself
or whatever lives inside it,
peripheral to your wanting—
shadow of wings
you catch obliquely
along the woods' edge,
river that you hear
Carnegie Mellon University Press