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ISSUE:  Winter 1990
The way I admire this couch, unsuitable for my house,
In the window of Gardner’s Antique Furniture
And brood on its curves and subtle carvings,
Would convince you, if you were here,
That I can be intimate now with the beautiful
On its own terms, without a craving for ownership.

And if you were here you could see me
Climbing the water tower on Sunday
To look out over the power lines
And enjoy the sight of houses and mills
Suddenly grown small.

See, I’ve learned what you told me to,
That the world needn’t be worshiped,
And still I’m willing to bless its frail particulars,
The line of cars parked at the lake
And the waders and swimmers,
And the runner in training again
For his annual one-man marathon around the rim.

Do you think I’m lying to win you over?
I can’t be sure I’m not.
I admit I couldn’t approve my life
If I seemed to be someone you couldn’t approve of.

Would you like me to love the truth wholly for itself?
I could be content with its cool, impersonal light
If I thought the rumor of my contentment,
If it ever reached you, would give you pleasure,
Pleasure that would make you ask for more.


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