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Not Yet by Jane Hirshfield

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Today my parents are celebrating their twenty-ninth year of marriage. I look at them and can’t believe they’re still fooling themselves. My father’s fingers, devoid of a ring. My mother’s gaze, unfeeling.

Not Yet
Jane Hirshfield

Morning of buttered toast;
of coffee, sweetened, with milk.

Out of the window,
snow-spruces step from their cobwebs.
Flurry of chickadees, feeding then gone.
A single cardinal stipples an empty branch –
one maple leaf lifted back.

I turn my blessings like photographs into the light;
over my shoulder the god of Not-Yet looks on:

Not-yet-dead, not-yet-lost, not-yet-taken.
Not-yet-shattered, not-yet-sectioned,

Ample litany, sparing nothing I hate or love,
not-yet-silenced, not-yet-fractured, not-yet-


I move my ear a little closer to that humming figure,
I ask him only to stay.

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