Not to Be Dwelled On

By Heather McHugh b. 1948 Heather McHugh
Self-interest cropped up even there,
the day I hoisted three instead of the
two called-for
spades of loam onto
the coffin of my friend.

Why shovel more than anybody else?
What did I think I'd prove? More love
(mud in her eye)? More will to work
(her father what, a shirker?) Christ,
I'd give an arm or leg
to get that spoonful back.

She cannot die again;
and I do nothing but relive.

Source: Poetry (November 2007).

 Heather  McHugh

Biography

Poet Heather McHugh’s work is noted for its rhetorical gestures, sharp puns and interest in the materials of language itself—her self-described determination is “to follow every surge of language, every scrap and flotsam.” Describing her work in the Boston Review, poet and critic Richard Howard alleged that “most of McHugh’s poems end in a spurt, as they proceed in a slather, of just such astonishment as is bestowed—afforded—by . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Living, Growing Old, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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