Friday, February 6, 2015

Finishing a Novel

From Faithful and Virtuous Night, the new book of poetry by Louise Glück, comes a new poem written for a world that no longer reads  much. The starting point of this new poem (which has no line breaks and might be taken to resemble a short paragraph of prose) is the experience of reading fiction 

As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow enveloped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood awhile in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently destroying me. How small it was, how brief. Brief, brief, but inside me now, which the stars could never be.