The Arrival

By Patricia Goedicke 1931–2006 Patricia Goedicke
Luggage first, the lining of his suit jacket dangling
As always, just when you’d given up hope
Nimbly he backs out of the taxi

Eyes nervously extending, like brave crabs
Everywhere at once, keeping track of his papers
He pilots himself into the home berth

Like a small tug in a cloud of seagulls
Worries flutter around him so thick
It takes him some time to arrive

And you wonder if he’s ever really been happy:
When the blue eyes blur
And stare out to sea

Whether it’s only a daydream
Or a long pain that silences him
In such gray distances

You’ll never know, but now
Turning to you, the delicate mouth
Like a magician

Is curious, sensitive, playing tricks,
Pouting like a wise turtle
It seems he has a secret

With the driver,
With the stewardess on the airplane
So that even when he opens his arms

When the warm voice surrounds you,
Wraps you in rough bliss,
Just before you go under

Suddenly you remember:
The beloved does not come
From nowhere: out of himself, alone

Often he comes slowly, carefully
After a long taxi ride
Past many beautiful men and women

And many dead bodies,
Mysterious and important companions.

Patricia Goedicke, "The Arrival" from Crossing the Same River. Copyright © 1980 by Patricia Goedicke.  Reprinted by permission of The University of Massachusetts Press.

Source: Crossing the Same River (University of Massachusetts Press, 1980)

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Poet Patricia Goedicke 1931–2006

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Biography

Patricia Goedicke's poetry has been described in the Times Literary Supplement by David Kirby as "intensely emotional, intensely physical." "More than any contemporary woman poet, perhaps, she exhibits a Whitmanesque exuberance," claims Small Press Review contributor Hans Ostrom. According to Peter Schjeldahl in the New York Times Book Review, Goedicke "bears down hard on the language, frequently producing exact ambiguities of . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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