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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, June 2, 2017.
About this Poem 

“This is a poem composed by the words themselves, calling out their sounds to each other. Compared to them, listless human longing for an unknown friend amounts to nothing. I can say that the name Gloucester, so resonant in my mind, set off the poem in the first place.”
—Fanny Howe

Near Miss

I almost met you
On a Saturday
In Gloucester.
The wind blew easterly.
There was a jar of mums
On a table near the window.

Their yellows were calling
To each other.

Place-names
Were put back
In the pencil drawer
Before I noticed your shadow.

Copyright © 2017 by Fanny Howe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 2, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Fanny Howe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 2, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Fanny Howe

Fanny Howe

The author of more than twenty books of poetry and prose, Fanny Howe received the 2001 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for her collection Selected Poems.

by this poet

poem
The rain falls on.
Acres of violets unfold.
Dandelion, mayflower
Myrtle and forsythia follow.

The cardinals call to each other.
Echoes of delicate
Breath-broken whistles.

I know something now
About subject, object, verb
And about one word that fails
For lack of substance.

Now people say, He passed on
2
poem
From no nowhere not near the sea
on blue field flax
the cemetery's absolutely solitary
you and you and a third

of a pound of bread
for supper in the refectory
where I would die of hunger
if you--if soon--if on this unday--one

undoing would be undone
2
poem

In my sleep Mohammed spoke
and I woke up
struggling with equipment
a helpless elder with fingers too weak
to bend the bits around the neck.

The Prophet expressed his relief
that his words
were of no interest
to postmodern theorists.
He was (he said) just another