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"'Rather than approaching a new poem as if it might be your last, try approaching it as if it’s simply your next.' I had scribbled this advice to myself in my notebook just before I wrote this poem. It was a cold and rainy day in Minneapolis. The future seemed impossible. I grabbed the first thing I could find nearest the door."
—Dobby Gibson

L'Avenir est Quelque Chose

Dobby Gibson

All day for too long
everything I’ve thought to say
has been about umbrellas,
how I can’t remember how
I came to possess whatever weird one
I find in my hand, like now,
how they hang there on brass hooks
in the closet like failed actors,
each one tiny or too huge,
like ideas, always needing
to be shaken off and folded up
before we can properly forget them on the train.
Most of my predictions are honestly
just hopes: a sudden sundress in March,
regime change in the North, the one where Amanda
wins the big book award from the baby boomers.
There’s that green and white umbrella
the cereal company interns handed us
outside the doomed ball game,
the one just for sun,
the one with the wooden handle
as crooked as the future
that terrifies me whenever one of us uses it
as a stand-in for a dance partner.
You once opened it in the living room
so Scarlett could have a picnic
beneath something that felt to her like a tent
as it felt to me like my prediction
we would live forever was already true.
When I want to try to understand now
I tend to look up and how
truth be untold, I might see nothing
more than a few thousand pinholes in black nylon,
it’s enough to get you to Greece and back,
or something to kiss beneath,
who knows how this is going to play out?
I know you won’t ever be able to say
exactly what you’re feeling either,
the way worry might pop open overhead
like fireworks oozing pure midnight —
will we ever see the sun? —
the way we’re sure to pull closer
to whatever’s between us, the rain playing
the drum that’s suddenly us.

Copyright © 2013 by Dobby Gibson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 17, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Dobby Gibson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 17, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Dobby Gibson

by this poet

poem
There are a billion reasons to look down
into a casket, but just one way to lie in it dead,
which proves there isn't anything 
you can think of that isn't here for the living,
who are each alive for a short time
in a very different way. 
After she moves out, one tears up grass blades
to watch which way the wind
poem
If you have seen the snow
somewhere slowly fall
on a bicycle,
then you understand
all beauty will be lost
and that even loss
can be beautiful.
And if you have looked
at a winter garden
and seen not a winter garden
but a meditation on shape,
then you understand why
this season is not
known for its words,
the cold