for Jane Kenyon

 

Five A.M., the Fourth of July.
I walk by Eagle Pond with the dog,
wearing my leather coat
against the clear early chill,
looking at water lilies that clutch
cool yellow fists together,
as I undertake another day
twelve weeks after the Tuesday
we learned that you would die.

  

This afternoon I’ll pay bills
and write a friend about her book
and watch Red Sox baseball.
I’ll walk Gussie again.
I’ll microwave some Stouffer’s.
A woman will drive from Bristol
to examine your mother’s Ford
parked beside your Saab
in the dead women’s used car lot.

  

Tonight the Andover fireworks
will have to go on without me
as I go to bed early, reading
The Man Without Qualities
with insufficient attention
because I keep watching you die.
Tomorrow I will wake at five
to the tenth Wednesday
after the Wednesday we buried you.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 16 Number 3, on page 35
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