Monday, October 22, 2007

The Coat

Alan Shapiro (1998)

Not night now, not the night's
one chilling vocable
of sharp air, not the cross
parental babble of it
burning your infant ear,
not anything you say
in answer, no good, not fair,
the fiercest syllables
that turn, as soon as spoken,
into steam that lifts away,

no, none of these is the
beloved in the story.
There's no beloved, none,
except the coat you wear,
the heavy coat you've clung
so long, so hard to that
the only warmth you sense
now is the warmth that seeks
an arctice bitterness
to hoard itself against.

Here you are easiest
where only phantom shapes
across the honeyed vagueness
of the window pass—
easiest where no lock
is turned, no door is opened,
no one at all to find
in your greeting the coat
that kept you warm outside
has brought the cold in with it.

1 comment:

dan said...

from The Best American Poetry (1998)

poet bio: Alan Shapiro