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Published: Tue Jul 1 2008
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
The World As You Left It

The strands of hair in the brush and
the indentation in the pillow, your dog
snoring on the bed, the unkind note
on the dresser top, the red silk rose
the body guys left for us, the curtains
full of dust, swinging, as a bird lands
on the stone wall, the summer heat
bears down, and eight geese take off
from the pond, and as his backhoe idles,
the guy smokes, while in the distance
there’s the endless hum of cars,
and a small plane sets loose a glider
in the afternoon, into the quiet
of all that space opening out.

All that space opening out
in the afternoon quiet, as overhead,
a small plane sets loose a glider,
and in the distance the endless hum
of cars, and nearer, the guy lighting
his smoke, his backhoe idle, as geese
rise from the pond, the summer heat
bearing down, a bird on the wall,
the curtains full of sunlight and dust,
in the room where the body guys left
a silk rose, there’s the unkind note
on the dresser top, your dog snoring
on the bed, the indentation in the pillow,
and four strands of hair in the brush.

Helen Wickes lives in Oakland, California. Her first book of poetry, In Search of Landscape, was published in 2007. She also has poems published in Calyx, AGNI Online, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Sanskrit, Eclipse, Jabberwock Review, and Confrontation. She is a member of Sixteen Rivers Press and holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. (updated 8/2012)

Her AGNI poem “The World As You Left It” is reprinted in Best of the Web 2009, published by Dzanc Books.

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