Want

By Joan Larkin b. 1939 Joan Larkin
She wants a house full of cups and the ghosts
of last century’s lesbians; I want a spotless
apartment, a fast computer.  She wants a woodstove,
three cords of ash, an axe; I want
a clean gas flame.  She wants a row of jars:
oats, coriander, thick green oil;
I want nothing to store.  She wants pomanders,
linens, baby quilts, scrapbooks.  She wants Wellesley
reunions.  I want gleaming floorboards, the river’s
reflection.  She wants shrimp and sweat and salt;
she wants chocolate.  I want a raku bowl,
steam rising from rice.  She wants goats,
chickens, children.  Feeding and weeping.  I want
wind from the river freshening cleared rooms.
She wants birthdays, theaters, flags, peonies.
I want words like lasers.  She wants a mother’s
tenderness.  Touch ancient as the river.
I want a woman’s wit swift as a fox.
She’s in her city, meeting
her deadline; I’m in my mill village out late
with the dog, listening to the pinging wind bells, thinking
of the twelve years of wanting, apart and together.
We’ve kissed all weekend; we want
to drive the hundred miles and try it again.
 
 
 
 
 

Joan Larkin, "Want" from Cold River: Poems. Copyright © 1997 by Joan Larkin. Reprinted by permission of Joan Larkin.

Source: Cold River: Poems (Painted Leaf Press, 1997)

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Poet Joan Larkin b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Town & Country Life, Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Biography

Poet, essayist, playwright, and editor Joan Larkin earned a BA at Swarthmore, an MA in English at the University of Arizona, and an MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College.

Formally assured, frank, and often fearless, Larkin’s poems explore alcoholism, sexuality, and loss. In the Los Angeles Times, David Ulin observed that Larkin’s poems “stake out a territory of relentless self-examination, taking on love and death, family and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Social Commentaries, Town & Country Life, Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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