Winter 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2012 |

Harmony in the Boudoir

After years of marriage, he stands at the foot of the bed and tells his wife that she will never know him, that for everything he says there is more that he does not say, that behind each word he utters there is another word and hundreds more behind that one. All those unsaid words, he says, contain his true self, which has been betrayed by the superficial self before her. "So you see," he says, kicking off his slip- pers, "I am more than what I have led you to believe I am." "Oh you silly man," says his wife, "of course you are. I find that just thinking of you having so many selves receding into nothingness is very exciting. That you barely exist as you are couldn't please me more."

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Mark Strand lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Knopf published his collection of prose pieces Almost Invisible in 2012.

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