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  • This Town Is Alright., and: Three Cows, and: As You Come Driving Through, and: Late-Night Inquiry, and: Some Late-Summer Evening
  • Charles Simic (bio)

This Town Is Alright.

A little river, then a bridge,

After which a row of white homes

With well-trimmed lawns

And a fat, bowlegged dog

Walking slowly from the curb,

Carrying a paper in his mouth [End Page 506]

Three Cows

These must be the cows who prayed    to be born again    and graze side by side    on this pretty meadow.

And did so all summer long,    lifting their heads only    to look with their sad eyes    at a poor devil like you,

who has stopped by their fence,    wearied by some thought or other,    and has now roused himself    discovering he has company. [End Page 507]

As You Come Driving Through

You may catch a glimpse of our high school princess

Doing cartwheels and twirling a baton

In a yard full of junked stoves and refrigerators

Her grandfather kept trucking home from the dump,

Over the years, so they can rust there in peace

And fall apart in view of everyone passing through,

So they may have something to remember of our town. [End Page 508]

Late-Night Inquiry

Have you introduced yourself to yourselfThe way a visitor at your door would?

Have you found a seat in your roomFor every one of your wayward selves

To withdraw into their own thoughtsOr stare into space as if it were a mirror?

Do you have a match you can lightTo make their shadows leap on the wall,

Or float dreamlike on the ceilingThe way leaves do on summer afternoons,

Before they take their bow and the curtain dropsAs the match burns down in your hand? [End Page 509]

Some Late-Summer Evening

When the wind off the lake

Stirs the trees’ memories

And their dark leaves swell

Against the fading daylight

With an outpouring of tenderness—

Or could it be anguish?

Making us all fall silent

Around the picnic table,

Unsure now whether to linger

Over our drinks or head home. [End Page 510]

Charles Simic

charles simic is a poet, essayist, and translator. His New and Selected Poems: 1962–2012 was published last year.



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pp. 506-510
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