"Draft of a Letter"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Dec. 13 2005 7:17 AM

"Draft of a Letter"

Click here to listen to James Longenbach read this poem. As a young man I was blessed with a body not Of great strength But very agile. Bright

Complexion, neither
Dark nor fair.
My torso, thin

From the start, grew
Wiry as I ran.
The pleasure

I derived from straightening
My room I
Never learned to will.
I feel it now.
In time,
Without trying,

I found a rhythm
Of thought ineffably
Hesitant, serene. Clouds

From the invisible
Mountaintops,
Then mist.
Rain soaked the ground
Until it swelled,
Lifting
My body

Flat on its back.
Delicate fingers,
Voice fair.
In the end

I found myself drawn
To what was neither very large

Nor very small.
In heaven,
If you say the word death,
Nobody understands.

James Longenbach's most recent collection of poems is The Iron Key. Graywolf will publish a new prose book, The Virtues of Poetry, next year.

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