Why this?

The occasional piece of my own and a generous helping of others' creations I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Late August morning I go out to cut
spent and faded hydrangeas—washed 
greens, russets, troubled little auras 

of sky as if these were the very silks 
of Versailles, mottled by rain and ruin
then half-restored, after all this time…

When I come back with my handful 
I realize I’ve accidentally locked the door,
and can’t get back into the house.

The dining room window’s easiest;
crawl through beauty bush and spirea, 
push aside some errant maples, take down 

the wood-framed screen, hoist myself up. 
But how, exactly, to clamber across the sill 
and the radiator down to the tile?

I try bending one leg in, but I don’t fold 
readily; I push myself up so that my waist 
rests against the sill, and lean forward, 

place my hands on the floor and begin to slide 
down into the room, which makes me think 
this was what it was like to be born: 

awkward, too big for the passageway…
Negotiate, submit? 
                           When I give myself
to gravity there I am, inside, no harm,

the dazzling splotchy flowerheads
scattered around me on the floor.
Will leaving the world be the same

—uncertainty as to how to proceed, 
some discomfort, and suddenly you’re 
—where? I am so involved with this idea 

I forget to unlock the door, 
so when I go to fetch the mail, I’m locked out 
again. Am I at home in this house, 

would I prefer to be out here, 
where I could be almost anyone? 
This time it’s simpler: the window-frame, 

the radiator, my descent. Born twice 
in one day! 
                In their silvered jug,
these bruise-blessed flowers: 

how hard I had to work to bring them 
into this room. When I say spent, 
I don’t mean they have no further coin.

If there are lives to come, I think
they might be a littler easier than this one.

--Mark Doty

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