What I Have

By Seth Abramson Seth Abramson
Twelve dollars sixty cents,   
& the fact that there is no blood no storm   
can’t wash into dirt, that the time for these words   
             is already ended,   
that for all the rain that has been here before   
so have I.   
          & there is less water in the world   
than a famous woman once said, & I know that,   
          & that the stars in the river   
also are real I also know, for they disappear also   
& refuse also to be touched. & I have touched   

            bare things, & it works—   
it can be the sole unbraided moment in a life—   
but even so, what better days look like to me is still   
            the tiny gore   
of heartbreak, & long walks with small shoes   
            that can’t be taken off,   
& schools in a city I love that put molded cages   
            over their clocks,   
because that works too to remind us   
we are not ready. & the worst of all is anything that   
            stays as it is   

                     when touched.   
At lunchtime a woman famous for her ability   
to praise the ineffable   
                      says she can’t believe anyone returns   
to where they came from.   
            But of course they do. In fact   
some do nothing else. & what is it they leave behind?   
            Perhaps not the meaning of time,   
but the time of meaning, & the fact that whatever   
happens, tomorrow   
                      will change it.

Source: Poetry (March 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2009
 Seth  Abramson


Seth Abramson is the author of The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009). In 2008 he was awarded the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize by Poetry. A former public defender, he currently attends the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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