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(4 January 1967 / Williamsburg, Virginia)

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Imagining Defeat

She woke me up at dawn,
her suitcase like a little brown dog at her heels.

I sat up and looked out the window
at the snow falling in the stand of blackjack trees.

A bus ticket in her hand.

Then she brought something black up to her mouth,
a plum I thought, but it was an asthma inhaler.

I reached under the bed for my menthols
and she asked if I ever thought of cancer.

Yes, I said, but always as a tree way up ahead
in the distance where it doesn't matter

And I suppose a dead soul must look back at that tree,
so far behind his wagon where it also doesn't matter.

except as a memory of rest or water.

Though to believe any of that, I thought,
you have to accept the premise

that she woke me up at all.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003


Read poems about / on: dog, tree, memory, believe, snow, water

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  • Ryan Freeley (3/4/2007 8:57:00 PM)

    this is one of my favorite poems

    2 person liked.
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