Poem | Hamden, CT, October

Remarkable, a wave so sharp and sheer—

It is metal—hear it rattle, like a logger’s gear.

 

See how it shines on leaves as dull as ash,

And rusted wires of roots like buried trash.

 

It stops me, takes my elbow in its hand,

And sniffs my hair, and eyes my wedding band.

 

It asks, “Where do you live? Why don’t you show me?

You can’t have been here long, or else you’d know me.”

 

I cannot speak or move: I recognize

My soft and warm and cool house in its eyes,

 

And now I pray that God, when roof and walls

Are gone, spares me from everything that falls,

 

Lets sheets and blankets lie in mold down there,

While I sleep cleanly, naked in midair.

 

But I’m a fool. His Judgment is no part

Of the imagination of my heart,

 

But part of Grace—to which I come the way

Of those most richly in this demon’s pay.

 

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About the Author

Sarah Ruden’s most recent book is Paul Among the People (Image Books). She has translated four books of classical literature (among them the Aeneid) and is the author of Other Places, a book of poetry. She is a visiting scholar at Wesleyan University and lives with her husband in Middleton, Connecticut.