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Late Results

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We wanted to confess our sins but there were no takers.
—Milosz

And the few willing to listen demanded that we confess on television.
So we kept our sins to ourselves, and they became less troubling.

The halt and the lame arranged to have their hips replaced.
Lepers coated their sores with a neutral foundation, avoided strong light.

The hungry ate at grand buffets and grew huge, though they remained hungry.
Prisoners became indistinguishable from the few who visited them.

Widows remarried and became strangers to their kin.
The orphans finally grew up and learned to fend for themselves.

Even the prophets suspected they were mad, and kept their mouths shut.
Only the poor—who are with us always—only they continued in the hope.



Scott Cairns, “Late Results” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted with the permission of Zoo Press.
Source: Philokalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002)
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Late Results

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