Fall 1989 • Vol. XI No. 4 Poetry |

An Old Song

How loyal our childhood demons are, growing old with us in the same house like servants who season the meat with bitterness, like jailers who rattle the keys that lock us in or lock us out. Though we go on with our lives, though the years pile up like snow against the door, still our demons stare at us from the depths of mirrors or from the new faces across a table. And no matter what voice they choose, what language they speak, the message is always the same. They ask "Why can't you do anything right?" They say "We just don't love you anymore."

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Linda Pastan is the author of numerous books of poetry including Traveling Light (Norton & Co, 2011). Her fourteenth collection, Insomnia, is forthcoming. She has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award, and in 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly prize for lifetime achievement.

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