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About this Poem 

"This was written for a friend who kept asking me if anyone would ever love her. Always that question, and what is there to say except to endure enough to see what happens. Maybe even to be brave enough to start first, to love without expectation, even hope."
—Sophie Cabot Black

Not

that you are unloved
but that you love
and must decide which

to remember; tracks left
in the field, a language
of going away or coming back—

and to look up
from the single mind,
to let untangle

the far-off snow
from sky
until no longer

held as proof
is also where birds
find agreement

strung along branches
each with their own song
for the other,

every note used
to sing anyway—
how to hold the already

as the not yet

Copyright © 2013 by Sophie Cabot-Black. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Sophie Cabot-Black. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Sophie Cabot Black

Sophie Cabot Black

Sophie Cabot Black is the author of The Misunderstanding of Nature (Graywolf Press, 2013).

by this poet

poem

Which cannot be written tries anyway—
From one room to another, each time startled
And does not want to hear of the already

Passed through, the country of before.
Poem that at each door believes itself
In the room closest to the end

Where finally everything will be gone over,

poem

To put one and one together making
Two and so on. A house appears, room
With a bed in it. To configure anyway,

Even without enough information.
We work into it, the chosen. To measure
Everything out until the one who takes over

Becomes taken. This as strategy, the art
Of how we

poem

As the leaves turn their backs on us
And the lilac gives over to dusk, nothing
Is ever certain, not even the house, stubborn

In twilight as it outlasts the grove
It was wrestled from. Those left behind,
The oak and ancient elm, lean against each other

As if in consent. Out of dirt,