Walking to School, 1964

By David Wojahn b. 1953 David Wojahn
Blurring the window, the snowflakes' numb white lanterns.   
She's brewed her coffee, in the bathroom sprays cologne   
And sets her lipstick upright on the sink.   
The door ajar, I glimpse the yellow slip,   

The rose-colored birthmark on her shoulder.   
Then she's dressed—the pillbox hat and ersatz fur,   
And I'm dressed too, mummified in stocking cap   
And scarves, and I walk her to the bus stop   

Where she'll leave me for my own walk to school,   
Where she'll board the bus that zigzags to St. Paul   
As I watch her at the window, the paperback   

Romance already open on her lap,   
The bus laboring off into snow, her good-bye kiss   
Still startling my cheek with lipstick trace.

Poem copyright ©1990 by David Wojahn, whose most recent book of poems is "Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004," University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006. "Walking to School, 1964" is from the longer poem "White Lanterns," printed in "Poetry," Vol. 157, 1990, by permission of David Wojahn and the publisher.

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Poet David Wojahn b. 1953

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, Winter, Activities, Indoor Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Ever since his first collection, Icehouse Lights, was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets award in 1981, David Wojahn has been one of American poetry’s most thoughtful examiners of culture and memory. His work often investigates how history plays out in the lives of individuals, and poet Tom Sleigh says that his poems “meld the political and personal in a way that is unparalleled by any living American poet.”

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SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, Winter, Activities, Indoor Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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