Summer 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1996 |

The Other Life

The life you wish you had lived inhabits the lavender scarf you lift now and then   from the dresser drawer. Like perfume, it invades every room in your house   with possibilities until your body is filled— that body   anyone can touch. It holds on tight the way on an autumn afternoon   the fig tree loses only its leaves and not the fruits that have turned   in on themselves like tiny fists. Must you give up   this life, whose doors you have dreamed open? Though you have parted   its curtains, worn its moonlit glow? Haven't you earned   this grief that makes you unable to breathe anything else?   These are the days you linger at the dinner table eating nothing, the other life   wanting you only to want it, to keep it known,   an initialed handkerchief without an owner. It is palpable   as that tiny mahogany chest made to hold letters you wish you'd received,   or that diary whose empty pages have already yellowed.

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By Andrea Hollander Budy

The life you wish you had lived inhabits the lavender scarf you lift now and then   from the dresser drawer. Like perfume, it invades every room in your house […]

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