Winter 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 1 Poetry |

Dellius’s Boat

In that dark boat, that bears us all away From here to where no one comes back from ever. —Horace So the journey resumes as it began, With the raw materials of a whole life Somehow compressed into a brief span Of years when everything seems obvious,   An indelible period that begins On a certain day in September, And that ends on a morning a few years later. Mostly I seem to remember   Books that felt almost like hymns, for better Or worse, of passing and regret: Proust, And Tender Is the Night, and "Exile's Letter," Which I think I read my freshman year.   The tenses get confused, like those arguments About life and the imagination One eventually abandons, As with each succeeding generation   Adolescence once more finally ends, This time in a house on a corner Filled with roommates and girlfriends and ex-girlfriends And parents and stepparents and ex-wives.   At dusk we strolled through the Illumination, Through a daze of colored paper lant

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John Koethe’s The Swimmer, has just been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His previous books include North Point North: New and Selected (2002), Ninety-Fifth Street (2009), which received the Lenore Marshall Award, and ROTC Kills (2012).

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