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Thinking About Louise Bogan

by Kathleen Norris


Sitting here
alone with Orion—
a lesson, the woman said,
in drawing a straight line—
I’m home.
This is what I fought for,
to draw from the darkness
as from a well.

I endured, she said,
without the gift of faith
and made what I needed
out of work and love
and stolen time.
I kept at the writing,
refusing the sacred bowl of broth
they held out for me:
the dressed-up Sundays,
china never used
kept under glass
and dusted each week.

In this, our city,
a woman might find
good quality of night.
And in our spidery house
where ghosts sit crying
in front of mirrors,
Orion might bend
and hearts love
more fiercely.
Our prayer would read:
give us this day
our daily darkness;
deliver us not
from temptation.

 

Kathleen Norris lives in South Dakota. Her second book of poems, The Middle of the World, was published in 1981 by the University of Pittsburg Press. (1985)


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