An invitation arrives
in the morning mail.
Before you have said yes or no,
slip into its coat sleeves,
and on your feet,
the only shoes bearable
for many days' travel.
Unseen, the two small fawns
grazing in sun outside the window,
their freckled haunches
and hooves' black teaspoons.
Abandoned, the ripening zucchini inside the fence.
Krakow, Galway, Beijing—
how is a city folded so lightly
inside a half-ounce envelope and some ink?
That small museum outside Philadephia,
is it still open,
and if so, is there a later train?
The moment averts its eyes to this impoliteness.
It waits for its guest
to return to her bathrobe and slippers,
her cup of good coffee, her manners.
The morning paper,
rustling in hand,
gives off a present fragrance, however slight.
But invitation's perfume?—
Quick as a kidnap,
faithless as adultery,
fatal as hope.
Jane Hirshfield's sixth book of poetry, After, was named a "best book of 2006" by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Financial Times.
For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click spacerhereyeshyperlinkPoetry SubmissionsSlate reads new poems from Oct. 1 to April 30. Manuscripts sent between May 1 and Sept. 30 will not be considered.To submit poems: Send, as a single attached document, up to three poems of no more than 50 lines each to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the poet's name for the subject line of the e-mail and for the title of the attachment. We prefer Word documents (.doc or .docx) to PDFs.Please include a brief, professional cover letter, including publication history, in the body of your email. Please limit submissions to one per poet per annual reading period. Simultaneous submissions are OK. Slate no longer accepts poetry submissions by mail. The email address email@example.com is for poetry submissions only (or to notify editors of acceptance elsewhere of a poem under consideration at Slate). Other inquiries, etc., will not be addressed.10000false220061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM63271989937000000020061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM632719899370000000.Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.Click here for an archive of discussions about poems with Robert Pinsky in "the Fray," Slate's reader forum.