Just Now
Lawrence Raab

Who decided death was a good idea?
That lying in the ground in a box
is the right kind of ending?

More life is what I want. 
But not surrounded
by all these quarrels

and deceptions
and crippling desires.
The world after this one

should have nothing in it
to covet or envy. Nothing
for time to disfigure,

rip apart, take away.
Therefore: no time.
Which left stillness

everywhere. I saw it then––
the boredom of clouds
and soft music, until someone

just sitting around remembers
a small treasure he hadn’t
been allowed to bring with him,

since everything particular
is real, and therefore
impossible to save.

Like a favorite hat.
Or a bracelet. Or that colorful
wisp of a scarf you were wearing

the afternoon we met in the park.
I said something
about the sky. You pointed

to the light shimmering
through the tall pines as we
were leaving, and I

touched your hand
as if by accident.
As if I had changed my mind

about the future. Look,
you said, turning back
to see what was gone–– 

how lucky
we are to have been here
just now.
Lawrence Raab is the author of nine collections of poems, including What We Don’t Know About Each Other, a winner of the National Poetry Series and a Finalist for the National Book Award, Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts, long-listed for the National Book Award, and most recently The Life Beside This One, as well as a collection of essays, Why Don’t We Say What We Mean? A new book of poems, April at the Ruins, will be published in 2022. He is the Harry C. Payne Professor of Poetry Emeritus at Williams College.

Read Lawrence Raab interviewed by Lauren Peat (from Issue 1).


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