Robert Pinsky (October 20, 1940 / New Jersey)
First Things to Hand
In the skull kept on the desk.
In the spider-pod in the dust.
Or nowhere. In milkmaids, in loaves,
Or nowhere. And if Socrates leaves
His house in the morning,
When he returns in the evening
He will find Socrates waiting
On the doorstep. Buddha the stick
You use to clear the path,
And Buddha the dog-doo you flick
Away with it, nowhere or in each
Several thing you touch:
The dollar bill, the button
That works the television.
Even in the joke, the three
Words American men say
After making love. Where's
The remote? In the tears
In things, proximate, intimate.
In the wired stem with root
And leaf nowhere of this lamp:
Brass base, aura of illumination,
Enlightenment, shade of grief.
Odor of the lamp, brazen.
The mind waiting in the mind
As in the first thing to hand.
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