Hurry by Marie Howe
MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM
These days I am learning how to love myself again. Some days I forget how. And it’s fine mostly, because what do I do with it really. That sounds so terrible when I say it like that, but when you’ve been where I’ve been, in the deep pit with your mouth full of dirt, swimming in despair, you’ll understand that love sometimes can almost be an afterthought. After the fact. After the fracture.
Feel like I’m hurrying towards something I dread and I can’t help but rush towards it, as if pulled by an unknown force. I don’t even try to fight back. Hurry, a voice inside me says, almost sings it even, hurry hurry hurry. And then I remember: I have to love myself again. So I suppose I drag my feet a little bit. Suppose I try to wait.
Someone once told me: loving is staying. Staying is a form of loving. Some days I forget how to love. And then I remember.
We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.
Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?
Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I’m sorry I keep saying Hurry—
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.
And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.
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This poem appeared in The Kingdom of Ordinary Time: Poems by Marie Howe, published by W.W. Norton & Company, 2009. Shared here with profound gratitude.
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