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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 24, 2017.
About this Poem 

“People are curious about the you in ‘the dark tree, the cold sea.’ It need not be a secret. My beloved sister died young of cancer. It is she to whom I am speaking.”
—Emily Fragos

the dark tree, the cold sea

although I know you can never be found
although I know that from the highest height
you cannot be seen you are not hiding
from me or are you is it how you look now
or maybe how I look now all these years gone by
places seen people met not knowing at any time
who I was or how others saw me or did not see me
and how are you wherever you are if I write you a letter
I’ll get no answer if I cry out to you to come in my final
hour you will not come but I will still look for you

Copyright © 2017 by Emily Fragos. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 24, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Emily Fragos. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 24, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Emily Fragos

Emily Fragos is the author of Hostage: New & Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 2011). She teaches at Columbia University and New York University, and lives in New York City.

by this poet

poem

When someone dies, the clothes are so sad. They have outlived
their usefulness and cannot get warm and full.
You talk to the clothes and explain that he is not coming back

as when he showed up immaculately dressed in slacks and plaid
     jacket
and had that beautiful smile on and you’d

poem
There is so little to go on: a pale
trembling hand as I stand over you,
my finger tracing the words on the page,
a foreign language you are learning
for a journey without me. You will do
fine, I say. You will wrap your tongue
around these sounds and be understood,
be given what you desire: a loaf of bread,