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The Word by Tony Hoagland

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Spent most of last night and the wee hours just reading. We had a power failure that lasted for hours, and while everybody opted to pass the time by sleeping, I sat in the kitchen reading by candlelight. I burned four candles and finished three books, and in the silence that followed after everything burned out I was thankful for the spaces between the full morning and night, where I can sit and listen to the clock ticking, to our listless dog pacing outside, and to the sound of my own breathing as I wait for everyone to wake up.

The Word
Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue

but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time,
to sit out in the sun and listen.

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