Jane Hirshfield

It Was Like This: You Were Happy

It was like  this:
you were happy, then you were  sad,
then happy again, then  not.

It went  on.
You were innocent or you were  guilty.
Actions were taken, or  not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were  silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent—what could you  say?

Now it is almost  over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your  life.

It does this not in  forgiveness—
between you, there is nothing to  forgive—
but with the simple nod of a baker at the  moment
he sees the bread is finished with  transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for  others.

It doesn’t matter what they will make of  you
or your days: they will be  wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong  man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own  invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were  sad,
you slept, you  awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes  persimmons.

AFTER (HarperCollins, 2006)