July/Aug 2018 • Vol. XL No. 4 Poetry |

How It Is (Later)

“Something is singing in the grass,” I wrote—oh, years ago—in a poem that left unsaid what it was that sang. The grass now is parched, the white horse in the poem has gone to green pastures, yet something is singing still by my window. Some words keep to shadows or slip off in a bank of clouds, leaving but traces of themselves; some, we chisel into stone slabs to anchor our dead among the generations, and yet the dead return at evening with their tales and consolations and whisper us to sleep like a lullaby. We wake to the mourning dove’s soft call, the rooster’s exultations to the sun, each singing what was given it to sing, timeless, separate from our dominion, but of a world in which we share a rising chorus of ambiguous songs, even as we enter another day of our lives in the loneliness of how it is.

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Peter Everwine’s most recent book is Listening Long and Late (University of Pittsburgh, 2013). He has received fellowships from the NFA, the Guggenheim Foundation, and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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