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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, October 27, 2016.
About this Poem 

“The Map was once part of a longer poem. As often happens, over time the first part of that poem fell away and what remained was this.”
—Marie Howe

The Map

The failure of love might account for most of the suffering in the world.

The girl was going over her global studies homework   

in the air where she drew the map with her finger 


touching the Gobi desert,

the Plateau of Tiber in front of her,


and looking through her transparent map backwards

I did suddenly see,

how her left is my right, and for a moment I understood.
 

Copyright © 2016 by Marie Howe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Marie Howe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Marie Howe

Marie Howe

Marie Howe was born in 1950 in Rochester, New York. She worked as a newspaper reporter and teacher before receiving her MFA from Columbia University in 1983. She currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

poem

When I walked across a room I saw myself walking

as if I were someone else,


when I picked up a fork, when I pulled off a dress,

as if I were in a movie.


                                    It’s what I thought you saw when you looked at me.

poem

“Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven devils had been cast out”

Luke 8:2.

 

The first was that I was very busy.

The second—I was different from you: whatever

poem

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store   
and the gas station and the green market and   
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,   
as she runs along two or three steps behind me   
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.   

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?