by Tony Hoagland
I was feeling pretty religious
standing on the bridge in my winter coat
looking down at the gray water:
the sharp little waves dusted with snow,
fish in their tin armor.
That’s what I like about disappointment:
the way it slows you down,
when the querulous insistent chatter of desire
goes dead calm
and the minor roadside flowers
pronounce their quiet colors,
and the red dirt of the hillside glows.
She played the flute, he played the fiddle
and the moon came up over the barn.
Then he didn’t get the job, –
or her father died before she told him
that one, most important thing-
and everything got still.
It was February or October
It was July
I remember it so clear
You don’t have to pursue anything ever again
You just have to stand there
looking out on the water
in your trench coat of solitude
with your scarf of resignation
lifting in the wind.
“Disappointment” by Tony Hoagland from What Narcissism Means to Me. © Graywolf Press, 2006.