Marie Howe

The World

I couldn’t tell one song from another,
	which bird said what or to who or for what reason.

The oak tree seemed to be writing something using very few words.
	I couldn’t decide which door to open – they looked the same, or what

would happen when I did reach out and turn a knob. I thought I was safe,
	standing there
but my death remembered its date:

only so many summer nights still stood before me, full moon, waning moon,
	October mornings: what to make of them? which door?

I couldn’t tell which stars were which or how far away any onw of them was,
	or which were still burning or not – their light moving through space like a 

late train – and I’ve lived on this earth so long – 50 winters, 50 springs and
and all this time stars in the sky in daylight

when I couldn’t see them, and at night when, most nights, I didn’t look.