Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Things I'm Not Yet


There’s a crowd in my head: all the things I’m not yet.
Words without paper, pages
sighing in summer forests, gardens
where builders stub out their rubble
and plastic oozes its sweat.
All the things I’m but I’m not yet.

The lonely window in midwinter
with the whine of tea on an empty stomach,
the gorgeous shush of restaurant doors
and their interiors, always so much smaller.
Not the smell of the newsprint, the blur
on my fingertips — my fame.

My hand,
that small one without a mark of work on it,
the one that's strange to the washing-up bowl
and doesn't know Fairy Liquid for whiskey.
Not yet the moment of the arrival in taxis
at daring destinations, or my being alone at stations
with the skirts of my fashionable clothes flapping
and no money for the telephone.

Not yet the moment when I can give you nothing
so well-folded it fits in an envelope —
a dull letter you won't reread.
Not yet the moment of your assimilation
in that river flowing westward: rivers of clothes,
of dreams, an accent unlike my own
saying to someone I don't know: darling...


From Helen Dunmore’s works.

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