Tom Barlow

Response to a Card Found in a
Second-hand Collection
of William Stafford Poems

Sophie—I love you so much!

Don't get down this weekend…

you have to celebrate life. I'll

be thinking about you. 

Love, Emma


Celebration is a heavy stick

To hand to someone who has never

Trusted herself with a weapon.

In East Africa, they swing 

Their clubs to no avail 

At the swarms of locust 

Devouring their crops.

What is left then

For them to celebrate except

A plate of stems and

A tea cup full of dust?

I can no more squash that which

Darkens my own sky than

Paint a smile on my lips

That does not sear me.

I fear I will starve

Without you.




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