Fall 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 4 Poetry |

This Morning

To see things as they are is hard, But leaving them alone is harder; Snow in patches in the yard, The vacuum in the sky, and in the soul The movements of temptation and refusal. I felt a day break. Nothing happened. The windows gave upon a street Where cars drove by as usual to the faint, Unearthly measures of a music Whose evasions struggled to conceal a Disappointment all the deeper that the Hope was for a thing I knew to be unreal. I can't do it yet. Perhaps no one can do it yet. The unconstructed gaze is still a fiction Of the heart, a hope that hides The boring truth of life within the limits Of the real, a life whose only heaven Is the surface of a slowly turning globe. Yet still I want to think I woke one day to— To what? The crystal trees, an earthly silence And the white, unbroken snow of a first morning?

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John Koethe’s The Swimmer, has just been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His previous books include North Point North: New and Selected (2002), Ninety-Fifth Street (2009), which received the Lenore Marshall Award, and ROTC Kills (2012).

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