staying dead

Standard

After Three Years
Donald Hall

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

In a week or ten days
the snow and ice will melt
from Graveyard Road.

I’m coming! Don’t move!

love sounds

Standard

Love is Like Sounds
Donald Hall

Late snow fell this early morning of spring.
At dawn I rose from bed, restless, and looked
Out of my window, to wonder if there the snow
Fell outside your bedroom, and you watching.

I played my game of solitaire. The cards
Came out the same the third time through the deck.
The game was stuck. I threw the cards together,
And watched the snow that could not do but fall.

Love is like sounds, whose last reverberations
Hang on the leaves of strange trees, on mountains
As distant as the curving of the earth,
Where snow still hangs in the middle of the air.

insensible skin

Standard

Safe Sex
Donald Hall
If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident
they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words;

if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire
only the tribute of another’s cry; if they employ each other

as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel—
then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread,

no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation,
no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated

apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond’s edge

young insults

Standard

The Young Watch Us
Donald Hall
The young girls look up
as we walk past the line at the movie,
and go back to examining their fingernails.

Their boyfriends are combing their hair,
and chew gum
as if they meant to insult us.

Today we made love all day.
I look at you. You are smiling at the sidewalk,
dear wrinkled face.

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

love aflame

Standard

Love Poem
Donald Hall
When you fall in love,
you jockey your horse
into the flaming barn.

You hire a cabin
on the shiny Titanic.
You tease the black bear.

Reading the Monitor,
you scan the obituaries
looking for your name.