A Poem

I didn’t want to wait on my knees
In a room made quiet by waiting.

A room where we’d listen for the rise
Of breath, the burble in his throat.

I didn’t want the orchids or the trays
Of food meant to fortify that silence,

Or to pray for him to stay or to go then
Finally toward that ecstatic light.

I didn’t want to believe
What we believe in those rooms:

That we are blessed, letting go,
Letting someone, anyone,

Drag open the drapes and heave us
Back into our blinding, bright lives.

— From “The Speed of Belief,” by Tracy K. Smith, in “Life on Mars” (2011)

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