Poem of the Week, by Marie Howe

What the Living Do
– Marie Howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably

fell down there.

And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes

have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we

spoke of.

It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep headstrong blue, and the sunlight

pours through.

The open living room windows because the heat’s on too high in here, and

I can’t turn it off.

For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street,

the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying

along those

wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my

wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.

Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called

that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to

pass. We want

whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss – we want more and more and

then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the

window glass,

say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing

so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m


I am living, I remember you.

For more information on Marie Howe, please click here: http://www.mariehowe.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Alison-McGhee/119862491361265?ref=ts

One comment

  1. Karen · April 29, 2012



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