Winter 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2011 |

Sweater

What is asked of one is not what is asked of another. A sweater takes on the shape of its wearer, a coffee cup sits to the left or the right of the workspace, making its pale Saturn rings of now and before. Lucky the one who rises to sit at a table, day after day spilling coffee sweet with sugar, whitened with milk. Lucky the one who writes in a book of spiral-bound mornings a future in ink, who writes hand unshaking, warmed by thick wool. Lucky still, the one who writes later, shaking. Acrobatic at last, the sweater, elastic as breath that enters what shape it is asked to. Patient the table; unjudging, the ample, refillable cup. Irrefuseable, the shape the sweater is given, stretched in the shoulders, sleeves lengthened by unmetaphysical pullings on.

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Jane Hirshfield is the author of two new books, The Beauty (poems) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (essays), both appearing from Knopf in Spring 2015. She is a current Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

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