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About this Poem 

"The poem is addressed to a close friend. Several decades into our friendship we become terribly estranged from each other—and I wanted to see if I could reach her in the poem, and I wanted to wish her well."

—Joanna Klink

Given

And I carried to that emptiness
between us the birds
that had been calling out

           all night.  I carried an old
              bicycle, a warm meal,
              some time to talk. 

I would have brought
them to you sooner
but was afraid your own

              hopelessness would keep you
              crouched there.  If you spring up,
              let it not be against me

but like a weed or a
fountain.  I grant you
the hard spine of your

              childhood.  I grant you
              the frowning arc of this morning.
              If I could I would grant you

a bright throat and even
brighter eyes, this whole hill
of olive trees, its

              calmness of purpose.
              Let me not forget
              ever what I owe you.

I have loved the love
you felt for those gardens
and I would grant you

              the always steadying
              presence of seeds. 
              I bring to that trouble

between us a bell that might
blur into air.  I bring the woods
and a sense of what lives there.

              Like you, I turn to sunlight for
              answers.  Like you, I am
              not sure where it has gone.
 

 

Copyright © 2013 by Joanna Klink. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 10, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Joanna Klink. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 10, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Joanna Klink

Joanna Klink

Joanna Klink is the author, most recently, of Excerpts from a Secret Prophecy (Penguin Books, 2015).

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STARS, SCATTERSTILL. Constellations of people and quiet. 

Those nights when nothing catches, nothing also is artless. 

I walked for hours in those forests, my legs a canvas of scratches,

trading on the old hopes—we were meant to be lost. But being lost

poem
Am I not alone, as I thought I was, as I thought
The day was, the hour I walked into, morning
When I felt night fly from my chest where prospect had
Slackened, and close itself off, understanding, as I thought I did,
That the ground would resist my legs and not let them
Break nor let them be released into air as