Mary Ruefle


You’ve wasted another evening
sitting with imaginary friends,
discussing the simplest possible
arrangement of an iris.
The sky, too, like a delicate dress
streaked with bleach, has been thrown away.
Once you wanted to be someone else
or another thing altogether: an iris in April,
or only its pistil, just that, a prayer so small
it was only rumored. What can it matter?
You know now your own life doesn’t belong to you,
the way a child defects into his childhood
to discover it isn’t his after all.
Still, on this and other evenings,
only another replica of thoughts
has been lost:
your life has its own: intact, far distant,
and unknowingly you have devoted your lives
to each other.

at Izura, toward dawn,
someone walks down to the sea
astonished you have taken so long.