A poem for Wednesday

Somebody said this week, at least you're laughing now. But it was only because he'd said something funny. We hadn't talked about what's been happening, but my mood glows on me I'm sure. The laughter came easily, devil-may-care. But it's like I know we'll never fix this, so it's easier somehow to laugh at the funny things. And it echoes in me like a memory from childhood I can't put a pin in — a jack-in-the-box, a peekaboo, a song about a wandering star.

This is by Jack Gilbert.

Trying to have something left over
There was a great tenderness to the sadness
when I would go there. She knew how much
I loved my wife and that we had no future.
We were like casualties helping each other
as we waited for the end. Now I wonder
if we understood how happy those Danish
afternoons were. Most of the time we did not talk.
Often I took care of the baby while she did
housework. Changing him and making him laugh.
I would say Pittsburgh softly each time before
throwing him up. Whisper Pittsburgh with
my mouth against the tiny ear and throw
him higher. Pittsburgh and happiness high up.
The only way to leave even the smallest trace.
So that all his life her son would feel gladness
unaccountably when anyone spoke of the ruined
city of steel in America. Each time almost
remembering something maybe important that got lost.
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