The Gate

By Marie Howe b. 1950 Marie Howe
I had no idea that the gate I would step through
to finally enter this world

would be the space my brother's body made. He was
a little taller than me: a young man

but grown, himself by then,
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,

rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.

This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I'd say, What?

And he'd say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
And I'd say, What?

And he'd say, This, sort of looking around.

Marie Howe, "The Gate" from What the Living Do. Copyright © 1997 by Marie Howe.  Used by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Source: What the Living Do (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1997)

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Poet Marie Howe b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

 Marie  Howe

Biography

Born in Rochester, New York, Marie Howe attended Sacred Heart Convent School and the University of Windsor. She received an MFA from Columbia University, where she studied with Stanley Kunitz, whom she refers to as “my true teacher.”

Her first collection, The Good Thief (1988), was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Margaret Atwood, who praised Howe’s “poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.” In that . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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