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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).

by this poet

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
poem

 

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2
poem

Dusk fell every night. Things
fall. Why should I
have been surprised. 

Before it was possible
to imagine my life
without it, the winds

arrived, shattering air
and pulling the tree
so far back its roots,

ninety years, ripped
and sprung. I think
as it fell it

2