By Eliza Griswold b. 1973 Eliza Griswold
My transgressions pile against the garden wall
(built when Rome began to weaken, scarred

by a cannonball.) I gossiped; I snubbed
a dinner guest. I watch until the wall writhes

with awful feral cats fed by shrunken widows
and the odd librarian. I’ve begun to be depleted

by your absence; one of  love’s worst symptoms.
For years, I’d had the sense to hold myself apart.

I’ve been here long enough to kill
two mint plants and a lavender,

then resurrect their better part.
I’d like to let you die on the vine.

Not you, the You I Dream,
who follows through on waking.

See how the watcher sees the storm
but doesn’t get wet. Be that.

Be what?
Be wiser than the heart.

Source: Poetry (September 2013).


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

September 2013
 Eliza   Griswold


Eliza Griswold is a poet and reporter whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the New Republic. Her books include the poetry collection Wideawake Field (2007) and the non-fiction title The Tenth Parallel (2010), which examines Christianity and Islam in Asia and Africa. In 2010, Griswold won the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome for her poetry, and in 2011, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Separation & Divorce, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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