Louise Gluck




Otis

A beautiful morning; nothing
died in the night.
The Lights are putting up their bean tepees.
Rebirth! Renewal! And across the yard,
very quietly, someone is playing Otis Redding.

Now the great themes
come together again: I am twenty-three, riding the subways
in pursuit of Chassler, of my lost love, clutching
my own record, because I have to hear
this exact sound no matter where I land, no matter
whose apartment—whose apartments
did I visit that summer? I have no idea
where I’m going, about to leave New York, to live
in paradise, as I have then
no concept of change, no slightest sense of what would
happen to Chassler, to obsessive need, my one thought being
the only grief that touched mine was Otis’ grief.

Look, the tepees
are standing: Steven
has balanced them the first try.
Now the seeds go in, there is Anna
sitting in the dirt with the open packet.

This is the end, isn’t it?
And you are here with me again, listening with me: the sea
no longer torments me; the self
I wished to be is the self I am.