Contents | October 2002
More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.
The Atlantic Monthly | October 2002
Most of what matters to me
by Laura Fargas
can be touched, but must be left
untouched, the bell hunched
over its silence until the moment
of telling. Saint Augustine said
when he prayed, even the straw
beneath his knees shouted to
distract him. Today is the day
of the small-eared rabbit lying
on her side, at ease near me.
I don't believe animals can tell
who they don't need to be afraid of,
though if I had that gift, I would have
tipped myself like brimmed-over wine
into his arms anyway. The ducks
in front of me now sway in their
one-legged sleep like dreaming trees.
What would it feel like to stroke
a mallard's purple wingflash?
Every moment in this dulling light
at the edge of a lake brings
a harvest of desires. What tames
these ducks? Occasional food,
but they came to me a second time
after not receiving food. Not
trust, not stupidity, but a habit
of patience and a long wanting.
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Laura Fargas lives in Washington, D.C. Her most recent book of poems is An Animal of the Sixth Day (1996).
Copyright © 2002 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; October 2002; Closer; Volume 290, No. 3; 136.