You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead—that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.
But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first–
all raw astonishment? Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning;
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the East.
You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
In the Orchard
Why are these old, gnarled trees
so beautiful, while I am merely
old and gnarled?
If I had leaves, perhaps, or apples…
if I had bark instead
of this lined skin,
maybe the wind would wind itself
around my limbs
in its old sinuous dance.
I shall bite into an apple
and swallow the seeds.
I shall come back as a tree.
Linda Pastan‘s many awards include the Dylan Thomas award, a Pushcart Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, in 2003. She is the author of over twelve books of poetry. Her PM/AM: New and Selected Poems (1982) and Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968–1998 (1998) were finalists for the National Book Award; The Imperfect Paradise (1988) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her recent collections include The Last Uncle (2001), Queen of a Rainy Country (2006) and Traveling Light (2011). She lives in Potomac, Maryland.