This weight on my chest,
this sullen sadness—tell me, Doctor,
how I can lift it up and set it down.
I want to be reassured by a fact,
by some measurable fever. To say:
That’s why I need to sleep.
this isn’t what I felt last week.
And yes, I’d like to have the past back.
But what would I do with it except what I did?
If I walk out into the garden, Doctor,
will loveliness help?
this weight on your chest—
why shouldn’t it hurt? Perhaps
it will pass.
Perhaps you will find
some necessary task, one you may believe
you can’t undertake. Don’t think about it.
Happiness isn’t any easier to explain.
Lawrence Raab is the author of seven poetry collections, including What We Don’t Know About Each Other, winner of the National Poetry Series, and a finalist for the National Book Award, The Probable World, Visible Signs: New and Selected Poems, and his latest collection, The History of Forgetting, all published by Penguin. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.