A man leaves the world
and the streets he lived on
grow a little shorter.
One more window dark
in this city, the figs on his branches
will soften for birds.
If we stand quietly enough evenings
there grows a whole company of us
standing quietly together.
overhead loud grackles are claiming their trees
and the sky which sews and sews, tirelessly sewing,
drops her purple hem.
Each thing in its time, in its place,
it would be nice to think the same about people.
Some people do. They sleep completely,
waking refreshed. Others live in two worlds,
the lost and remembered.
They sleep twice, once for the one who is gone,
once for themselves. They dream thickly,
dream double, they wake from a dream
into another one, they walk the short streets
calling out names, and then they answer.
Naomi Shihab Nye
I think I first read this poem in college when I rough read thousands of poems.
I read so much that my head almost exploded.
I wanted to know what it was like to stuff enough beauty in my brain from poetry that all the ugly bits and scary stuff that lived in my head would be regulated to tiny back cloistered rooms.
I self medicated with poetry.
I read with wicked abandon.
I ate words without tasting them sometimes.
Just always feeling the visceral burn.
And what happened is sometimes there would be ghosts of a poem just lingering for years.
Haunted by snatches of words I could never just reach.
And then you just stumble upon them some hot day in June.
You just pluck it from the screen.
You just recognize it like a long time lover across a crowded someplace.
You walk right up and kiss it.