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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Howe
Marie Howe
Marie Howe was born in 1950 in Rochester, NY. She worked as...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Objects
Tender Buttons [Objects]
by Gertrude Stein
A blurry photograph
by Martha Ronk
Amethyst Beads
by Eavan Boland
Before You Came
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Blue Hanuman
by Joan Larkin
Compendium of Lost Objects
by Nicole Cooley
No mode of excitement is absolutely colorless
by Mónica de la Torre
Orkney Interior
by Ian Hamilton Finlay
Postcards
by E. Ethelbert Miller
Private Beach
by Jane Kenyon
The Hammers
by Jericho Brown
The Things
by Donald Hall
White Box (notes)
by Laura Mullen
Woman in Front of Poster of Herself
by Alice Notley
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What the Angels Left

 
by Marie Howe

At first, the scissors seemed perfectly harmless.
They lay on the kitchen table in the blue light.

Then I began to notice them all over the house,
at night in the pantry, or filling up bowls in the cellar

where there should have been apples. They appeared under rugs,
lumpy places where one would usually settle before the fire,

or suddenly shining in the sink at the bottom of soupy water.
Once, I found a pair in the garden, stuck in turned dirt

among the new bulbs, and one night, under my pillow,
I felt something like a cool long tooth and pulled them out

to lie next to me in the dark. Soon after that I began
to collect them, filling boxes, old shopping bags,

every suitcase I owned. I grew slightly uncomfortable
when company came. What if someone noticed them

when looking for forks or replacing dried dishes? I longed
to throw them out, but how could I get rid of something

that felt oddly like grace? It occurred to me finally
that I was meant to use them, and I resisted a growing compulsion

to cut my hair, although in moments of great distraction,
I thought it was my eyes they wanted, or my soft belly

—exhausted, in winter, I laid them out on the lawn.
The snow fell quite as usual, without any apparent hesitation

or discomfort. In spring, as expected, they were gone.
In their place, a slight metallic smell, and the dear muddy earth.






From The Good Thief. Copyright © 1988 by Marie Howe. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books, Inc., New York.
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