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Perhaps By Then You Will No Longer Be In Love by Olena Kalytiak Davis

It seems like I am always cleaning my office. I have papers everywhere: underneath the keyboard, in between books, inside my coin purse, under my pillow, stuck in the typewriter, tucked in my daily planner, stuffed in drawers, cabinets, bags – one day I will have the time to finally gather them all and look at everything I’ve written down and copied. For now here’s another poem hurriedly scribbled and forgotten in 2002, but has finally found its way to me again after nine years:

Perhaps By Then You Will No Longer Be In Love
Olena Kalytiak Davis

Although you have betrayed him in a dream,
you have betrayed him, and the infidelities
of sleep will change you: you
will find yourself suddenly in love
with the two young women
outside your window
whose voices and laughter fell


with last winter’s snow. You will begin to think:
I am beginning to move among them.
But only you will be wearing a snap-brimmed
hat. When the knock comes, it will knock

a certain reticence. It will leave
your door covered in white knuckles.

And the windows will no longer breathe, they will die

like paintings. And will no longer be
worrying the stars into meaning, they will
already mean something, but that will only be the wind,
only the wind that will be

keen and keening.

All else will remain hidden and nameless.
By which I mean: your soul. By which I mean

you will begin by missing

your old sadness, that old country: a country
fielded in rye. A strange sore
will just then start to form
underneath your tongue.

You will always find yourself being unfaithful to someone.
You will always be gathering something from the landscape

without poems:

then, finally, winter,
to once again
thin things out, down

to those two women’s
voices. And their laughter, their laughter falling
with the new snow?

Perhaps by then you will no longer be in love.

Your infidelities will have changed you.

Comments (1)

  • I am so glad you have included this poem; Olena is one of my favorite poets. Have you read her first book, “And Her Soul Out of Nothing”? I think you would love it.


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