Poetry October 2011

Woman by the Way

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I passed a woman on my way to work.
She didn’t notice me, or so I thought.
She was in her garden clipping flowers.
Her hair was braided, dirty blond.
She wore a nightdress that was pink and white.
I guessed that she was nineteen, maybe twenty.

But my guess was wrong. I met her
later when a cinder hit my eye.
She was a doctor. You will be okay,
she said to me with such a weight of knowledge
I was quite relieved. I went home giddily
and late that night went out to water
all the little flowers along my path.

Jay Parini’s recent books include The Passages of H.M.: A Novel of Herman Melville (2010) and The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems (2005). He teaches at Middlebury College.
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