a cherishing so deep

What the Living Do

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

– Marie Howe

Thank you to my dearly beloved sister, Hilary, for sharing this with me.

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  1. Posted April 25, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Loved this.

  2. Posted April 25, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    This is one of my favorite poems of all time.

  3. Margaret
    Posted April 25, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    This is stunning. So glad you shared it. And I took out the first two books of Lois Lowry’s Giver quartet for my 11 y-o daughter (who always has her nose in a book)from the library…and I’m in the middle of The Fault in Our Stars and Glitter & Glue (absolutely loving), partly on your recommendations…Thanks as always for your guidance and wisdom!!!

  4. Posted April 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    So perfect.

  5. Posted April 25, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink


  6. Posted April 25, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I am living. I remember you.

    SO love this one. A touch of beauty added to my night. Thank you for sharing.

    Happy poetry month.

  7. Posted May 4, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing. This is awesome and definitely something that makes you reconsider perspective.