American Culture · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry

Paul Guest

You lie in bed at 4:30 in the morning
wishing her hair would wash over you
like river silt and change the course you’re on.
A good word would be meander.
It’s a breath, more than you ever wanted
to spend on the way suffering bends
like an elbow or a stream in your backyard
that sometimes you go to
and lie down with the aigtating dragonflies
and the mud that’s warm without
another body, another world, winter, summer—
all this is what you cant stand to lose, what can be borne.
You tell yourself tomorrow’s heart is lost already, go on.

— Paul Guest, from “Full Life,” The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World (New Issues, 2003)

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