I position my plate, my cup, a question circling, looking for home: do you
drink tea with ambrosia?
Window looking at the street, wind lifting snow in curls, window looking
at the sea, pine tree bending to the water.
My mother smocked dresses for our daughters. One day, someone knows
how to smock dresses, then nobody knows.
The train is full of young people: even in winter, everyone wearing parkas,
you can sense their beautiful bodies. Where are they going?
My kidney’s embolized, my heartbeat’s strong. All we have to do,
the question and I, is fall asleep. The doors are closing, hurry!
The boat was ours, I didn’t want to leave, all of us were there. Then it was
morning, we were in Dorsoduro.
James Longenbach is the author of six books of poems, most recently Forever (Norton, 2021) and eight books of literary criticism, most recently The Lyric Now (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2020).