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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 13, 2018.
About this Poem 
“My poems are a mix of autobiography and pure invention and often take years of tinkering before they are ready, so I rarely remember when and how they began and do not keep old drafts to help me do so. I like being in the dark as to where I’m going and where I’ll end up. And I hope my readers feel the same.”
—Charles Simic
 

Hide and Seek

Haven’t found anyone 
From the old gang.
They must be still in hiding,
Holding their breaths
And trying not to laugh.

Our street is down on its luck
With windows broken
Where on summer nights 
One heard couples arguing,
Or saw them dancing to the radio.

The redhead we were 
All in love with,
Who sat on the fire escape,
Smoking late into the night, 
Must be in hiding too.

The skinny boy 
On crutches
Who always carried a book,
May not have 
Gotten very far.

Darkness comes early 
This time of year
Making it hard 
To recognize familiar faces 
In those of strangers.

Copyright © 2018 by Charles Simic. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets

Copyright © 2018 by Charles Simic. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets

Charles Simic

Charles Simic

Charles Simic received the Academy Fellowship in 1998 and was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2000. 

by this poet

poem

Your mother carried you
Out of the smoking ruins of a building
And set you down on this sidewalk
Like a doll bundled in burnt rags,
Where you now stood years later
Talking to a homeless dog,
Half-hidden behind a parked car,
His eyes brimming with hope
As he inched forward,

poem
St. John of the Cross wore dark glasses
As he passed me on the street.
St. Theresa of Avila, beautiful and grave,
Turned her back on me.

"Soulmate," they hissed. "It's high time."

I was a blind child, a wind-up toy . . .
I was one of death's juggling red balls
On a certain street corner
Where they peddle
poem
Of the light in my room:
Its mood swings,
Dark-morning glooms,
Summer ecstasies.

Spider on the wall,
Lamp burning late,
Shoes left by the bed,
I'm your humble scribe.

Dust balls, simple souls
Conferring in the corner.
The pearl earring she lost,
Still to be found.

Silence of falling snow,
Night vanishing