By James Hoch James Hoch
Perhaps you covet something of
               its emptiness, its uselessness

in matters of  yearning or feeling
               another’s yearn, that it can’t

know a damn thing, yet damns
               everything it touches: the water

it gathers along its passage,
               the air it pushes through,

swallow-like. It is no bird,
               though you envy the song

you hear only after it’s gone,
               even if  it sings through paper,

a goat, the neck of a man
               wearing a scarf that tufts just as

the rest of   him flies out of
               his shoes and collapses in dirt.

Or, how it is like the dirt
               receiving him, the privilege

of not knowing if   he was
              kind or unkind, as you

chamber another, waiting for
              someone to come for his shoes.

Source: Poetry (May 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2013
 James  Hoch


James Hoch’s books are A Parade of Hands (Silverfish Review Press, 2003) and Miscreants (W.W. Norton, 2007). He teaches at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Body, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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