Great literature is simply language charged with meaning
to the utmost possible degree.
~ Ezra Pound
AFTER AN ABSENCE


After an absence that was no one's fault
we are shy with each other,
and our words seem younger than we are,
as if we must return to the time we met
and work ourselves back to the present,
the way you never read a story
from the place you stopped
but always start each book all over again.
Perhaps we should have stayed
tied like mountain climbers
by the safe cord of the phone,
its dial our own small prayer wheel,
our voices less ghostly across the miles,
less awkward than they are now.
I had forgotten the grey in your curls,
that splash of winter over your face,
remembering the younger man
you used to be.

And I feel myself turn old and ordinary,
having to think again of food for supper,
the animals to be tended, the whole riptide
of daily life hidden but perilous
pulling both of us under so fast.
I have dreamed of our bed
as if it were a shore where we would be washed up,
not this striped mattress
we must cover with sheets. I had forgotten
all the old business between us,
like mail unanswered so long that silence
becomes eloquent, a message of its own.
I had even forgotten how married love
is a territory more mysterious
the more it is explored, like one of those terrains
you read about, a garden in the desert
where you stoop to drink, never knowing
if your mouth will fill with water or sand.


by Linda Pastan,
from The Imperfect Paradise. W.W. Norton and Co.
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Love/Life Poems
The First Fruit Salad
Almanac of Last Things
Lighting Your Birthday Cake
What We Need/First Calf
Emily Rose
Life
After an Absence
Crossroads
On the Way to Work
Misery Loves Company
Having Come This Far
First He Looked Confused
The Country of Marriage
Love Poem
In the Department Store
Poem for the Family
The Perfect Day
What She Was Wearing
These Love Poems
Forgetfulness
The Wildest Word
The Oldest Cowboy
The sun has burst the sky
Riveted
LAUNDRY DAY
LINKS
SHOE BOX
SITE MAP
SCRAPBOOK
POETRY
WELCOME!
VIEWS
DIURNAL
QUOTES
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Crusoe
Field Notes
Aunt Bobby
After Love
Lute Music
Cabbage Moths
Cutting the Cake
Advice to Men Seeking Love
Ex-boyfriends in Heaven
Anne Porter's Poetry
Deep
Nature Morte Au Plat Et Pommes
Failing and Flying
Let Hours
Early in the Morning
My Son
How to Like It
Fireflies
No Solicitations Allowed
In the Middle
My Methodist Grandmother Said
Some Talking in Bed
The Hammock
It Is Marvelous
Geology
Girlfriends
In My Own Mind
Peacock Display
In Praise of Imperfect Love
Great Cathedrals
Raking
Tomorrow
You Must Accept
September Twelfth, 2001
Slow Dancing on the Highway
Desire
Still
Cinderella's Diary
They Sit Together on the Porch
Yes
After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
Second Chance
What We Want
Vocations Club
Hug
Gamin
Boarding a Bus
I Married You
The Irrational Numbers of Longing
Down on My Knees
The Guest House
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Idyll
Marginalia
Mother, In Love at Sixty
Why I Have A Crush On You
The Marriage-Bed
Love After Love
On Faith
Briefly It Enters, Briefly Speaks
Habitation
Nude Descending a Staircase
The judge was decent, but...
The Mutes
Mahogany China
Heaven, 1963
The Blue Robe
Instructions
The Shirt
Losing Track
Marriage
Wedding
Sweet Darkness
The Fight
Passionate Shepherd to His Love
November Again Again
Softly
Love at First Sight
Sex Ed
Love Does That
The Portent
You Touch Me
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