Jane Hirshfield





Hesitation: An Assay

Sometimes only a slowing
so momentary it can scarcely be seen -
as if a dog
chasing something large and swift and important,
were distracted by the white tremor of an overhead moth.

Other times a full lifetime tentative, lost.

The line of the roof in a child's crayoned drawing
can show a hesitation almost fatal.
The rain
comes to it hard or less hard,
knowing nothing of hesitations's rake-toothed debate

And the two lovers
now concealed around the corner?
They fool no one, not even themselves,
pausing in their own shadows outside a locked door.

If pleasure requires prolonging, then these lovers.

Yet slowness alone is not to be confused
with the scent of the plum tree just before it opens.