So, no poet has ever been able to make me cry like Marie Howe.  Any single poem in her collection What the Living Do can do it, and sometimes I forget, and pick it up, thinking I will read a gentle, lucid poem like all the other gentle, lucid poems in the world, and suddenly I’m hiccupping, gasping.  So here’s one.


Driving out of town, I see him crossing
the Brooks Pharmacy parking lot, and remember

how he would drop to his knees in the kitchen
and press his face to my dress, his cheek flat against

my belly as if he were listening for something.
Somebody might be waiting for coffee in the living room,

someone might be setting the dining room table, he’d
place his face under my dress and press his cheek

against my belly and kneel there, without saying anything.
How is it possible that I am allowed to see him

like this—walking quickly by the glass windows?

—what he wears in the world without me,
his hands swinging by his side, his cock quiet

in his jeans, his shirt covering
his shoulders, his own tongue in his mouth.