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Jane Hirshfield | The Nation

Jane Hirshfield

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Jane Hirshfield

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What will become of these

my many lives,

abandoned each morning abruptly to their own fates?

Of the fox who stopped to look up at me,

bright death stippling her muzzle,

and announced--clearly, simply--"I was hungry"?

Of the engine left half-disassembled,

the unmendable roofleaks, the waiting packed bags?

Cloudbellies of horses drinking at sunset.

Fierce embraces remembered half a day if at all.

Even the bedside jar of minute and actual seashells

wavers and thins--

though each was lifted, chosen,

I no longer recall if it was in joy or distraction,

in foreknowledge or false belief.

How much more elusive, these half-legible scribblings.

If souvenirs at all, they are someone else's.

As each of my memories,

it seems, is destined to be someone else's,

to belong to a woman who

looks faintly like me and whom I wish well,

as one would any stranger passed in a shop, on the street.