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. Linden Lane
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Once, It Seemed Better

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by Rafael Campo

Rain all day, but it doesn't matter:
I'm home alone. You left your presence,
though. Here in my study, it's sadder

for having to observe the ladder
that looms, like unrealized promise,
beneath the leaky skylight. Matters

as yet unattended to chatter
in your unmistakable cadence;
I'm not sure which of them seems sadder,

the deflated figure in the clutter
of your pulled-off clothes, or the romance
of your cup and spoon. What most matters

to me now, despite the soft shudder
(as if a place could have a conscience)
the whole house gives, is even sadder,

even colder: your absence, bitter
as it seems, invites forbearance.
Rain all day, and it hardly matters.
Here, without you, I wish I were sadder.

 

Rafael Campo, MD, practices internal medicine and teaches at Harvard Medical School. His collection of essays, The Healing Art: A Doctor's Black Bag of Poetry, was published in 2003. On February 16, 2005, in Devlin 101, he read from his poetry as part of the Lowell Humanities Series.

 

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