What is this snuffling through the foliage
that tears at my heart? Don’t wander
so far away, I hear myself saying.
But she never listened to me
if she didn’t want to.
Each day now is filled in
with a different present, another woods
we’ll no longer walk through together.
I take off my glasses and the real landscape
is smudged away—path by a river, pines
bent over water, that sunny field up ahead.
I can’t see enough to know
she isn’t there, but I know.
And what I hear is only
this idle breeze, casually touching
the leaves beside me as it passes through.
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.