I got home last night and thought to myself, Carver. Sometimes on the walk home I think about what I'll have for dinner, other times I'm disciplined and focus on yoga first and thinking only of dinner when the instructor says, clear your mind. On certain nights, though, I'm hungry for poetry and I know exactly who will hit the spot.
On the weekend, I organized my bookshelves and thought at once how much I must like Carver, he is peppered across my shelves. But also how I want more of him, of his poetry in particular. Poetry is so easy to pick up and read and reread just while standing over the stove, stirring a skillet of tofu and corn, diced tomatoes and assorted spices. Thinking, there will always be paprika dust on this page from right now.
This is from Where Water Comes Together With Other Water.
Locking Yourself Out, Then Trying to Get Back In
You simply go out and shut the door
without thinking. And when you look back
at what you’ve done
it’s too late. If this sounds
like the story of life, okay.
It was raining. The neighbors who had
a key were away. I tried and tried
the lower windows. Stared
inside at the sofa, plants, the table
and chairs, the stereo set-up.
My coffee cup and ashtray waited for me
on the glass-topped table, and my heart
went out to them. I said, Hello, friends,
or something like that. After all,
this wasn’t so bad.
Worse things had happened. This
was even a little funny. I found the ladder.
Took that and leaned it against the house.
Then climbed in the rain to the deck,
swung myself over the railing
and tried the door. Which was locked,
of course. But I looked in just the same
at my desk, some papers, and my chair.
This was the window on the other side
of the desk where I’d raise my eyes
and stare out when I sat at that desk.
This is not like downstairs, I thought.
This is something else.
And it was something to look in like that, unseen,
from the deck. To be there, inside, and not be there.
I don’t even think I can talk about it.
I brought my face close to the glass
and imagined myself inside,
sitting at the desk. Looking up
from my work now and again.
Thinking about some other place
and some other time.
The people I had loved then.
I stood there for a minute in the rain.
Considering myself to be the luckiest of men.
Even though a wave of grief passed through me.
Even though I felt violently ashamed
of the injury I’d done back then.
I bashed that beautiful window.
And stepped back in.