American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry · The New York School (Second Generation)

Alice Notley

If you immerse your feet in icy water
you forget grief for a moment. I did this once, my
brother-in-law made us cross a cold stream barefoot,
that winter, walking in the woods—I was emptied, then elated,
blissful; but didn’t try it again. Grief
returns vengeful after you’ve repulsed it.

— Alice Notley, from “II—The Person That You Were Will Be Replaced,” Mysteries of Small Houses: Poems. (Penguin Books; First Edition edition, June 1, 1998)

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