J U N E 1 9 9 2
GRATITUDEby Jessica Hornik
Hear Jessica Hornik read this poem (in RealAudio).
(For help, see a note about the audio.)
Learn to be grateful for armchairs, where you fit
like a nut in its shell. Consider that plum blossoms
happen twice: once in the vase, once as shadow.
And these double windows and quadruple doors --
all have been constructed to slow the passage
of air, feet, time. You come through
in the morning and by afternoon, the day is
something: a shadow's inches, a stanza, an emptied
And things have their correspondences:
Cézanne's boy always walks toward you
like the future. The chairs' foreheads
gentle the clamor of unobserved cells in a room --
as the face of your beloved
answers for all of you.
Between the eye and its sighted object
a chronicle of personality takes place.
All you need to know about me
is I love the piled-on rectangles of a room,
a window admitting the hill's diagonal,
birches' white strokes on a green band.
Nearsighted eyes arrange the page
at a slant, which the heart interprets as stairs.
Jessica Hornik is a poet whose work has appeared in Poetry,The Yale Review,andThe New Republic.
Copyright © 1992 by Jessica Hornik. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; June 1992; Gratitude; Volume 269, No. 6; page 86.