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Chamber Thicket

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As we sat at the feet of the string quartet,
in their living room, on a winter night,
through the hardwood floor spurts and gulps
and tips and shudders came up, and the candle-scent
air was thick-alive with pearwood,
ebony, spruce, poplar, and horse
howled, and cat skreeled, and then,
when the Grösse Fugue was around us, under us,
over us, in us, I felt I was hearing
the genes of my birth-family, pulled, keening
and grieving and scathing, along each other,
scraping and craving, I felt myself held in that
woods of hating longing, and I knew
and knew myself, and my parents, and their parents,
there—and then, at a distance, I sensed,
as if it were thirty years ago,
a being, far off yet, oblique-approaching,
straying toward, and then not toward,
and then toward this place, like a wandering dreaming
herdsman, my husband. And I almost wanted
to warn him away, to call out to him
to go back whence he came, into some calmer life,
but his beauty was too moving to me,
and I wanted too much to not be alone, in the
covert, any more, and so I prayed him
come to me, I bid him hasten, and good welcome.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the August 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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Chamber Thicket

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