Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Louise Glück


Part 9 from "Marathon"

    I was not meant to hear
    the two of them talking.
    But I could feel the light of the torch
    stop trembling, as though it had been
    set on a table. I was not to hear
    the one say to the other
    how best to arouse me,
    with what words, what gestures,
    nor to hear the description of my body,
    how it responded, what
    it would not do. My back was turned.
    I studied the voices, soon distinguishing
    the first, which was deeper, closer,
    from that of the replacement.
    For all I know, this happens
    every night: somebody waking me, then
    the first teaching the second.
    What happens afterward
    occurs far from the world, at a depth
    where only the dream matters
    and the bond with any one soul
    is meaningless; you throw it away.

© 1987 Louise Glück