Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
FURTHER READING
Poems by Alan Shapiro
Just
Sleet
Vantage
Related Prose
Grammar for Poets
by Michael Ryan
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

The Haunting

 
by Alan Shapiro

It may not be
the ghostly ballet
of our avoidances
that theyll remember,
nor the long sulks
of those last months,
nor the voices
chilly with all
the anger we
were careful mostly
not to show
in front of them,
nor anything
at all that made
our choice to live
apart seem to us
both not only
unavoidable
but good, but just.

No, what I think
will haunt them is
precisely what
weve chosen to
forget: those too
infrequent (though
even toward
the end still
possible) moments
when, the children
upstairs, the dinner
cooking, one of us
would all at once
start humming an old
tune and wed dance,
as if we did
so always, in
a swoon of gliding
all through the house,
across the kitchen,

down the hall
and back, wed sway
together, wed twirl,
wed dip and cha-
cha and the children
would hear us and
be helpless not
to come running
down to burrow
in between us,
into the center
of the dance that now,
I think, will haunt them
for the very joy
itself, for joy
that was for them,
for all of us
together, something
better than joy,
and yet for you
and me, ourselves,
alone, apart,
still not enough.






Copyright © 2005 by Alan Shapiro. From Tantalus In Love. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin.
Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.