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Heaven For Stanley

by Mark Doty

For his birthday, I gave Stanley a hyacinth bean,
an annual, so he wouldn’t have to wait for the flowers.

He said, Mark, I have just the place for it!
as if he’d spent ninety-eight years

anticipating the arrival of this particular vine.

I thought poetry a brace against time,
the hours held up for study in a voice’s cool saline,

but his allegiance is not to permanent forms.
His garden’s all furious change,

budding and rot and then the coming up again;

why prefer any single part of the round?
I don’t know that he’d change a word of it;

I think he could be forever pleased
to participate in motion.  Something opens.

He writes it down. Heaven steadies
and concentrates near the lavender.  He’s already there.

-Read at St. Lydia’s on March 25

Posted in: Poems

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