Diane Wakoski

May 8, 2015 Wakoski Diane

The Leaves Have No Pity


gathering under the porch like abandoned promises,
fallen through the wooden
slats, like the key
that is now lost among them. The
leaves have no response to
the vulnerable hand,
the fingers through which the key slipped
on its rusty wire.
She was once young
when they kept the key hidden
under a rock near the sill of the door
and entered the old house,
now used as a summer cabin. If she could have
seen the bottom of the lake,
there she would have
seen numerous other keys
fallen down into silt, and though
she fished and poked to find
her key under the porch, in several autumns’ worth of leaves,
she would never be able to use it
even if found. It was simply the old duplicate
key, once slipped off the rusty wire.
Yet, she had
to set it right, the careless loss. For if she did
perhaps other careless losses
would not seem so great.

Diane Wakoski, born in Southern California, graduate of UC, Berkeley, began her poetry career in New York City (1960-1973).  Her selected poems, Emerald Ice (Black Sparrow) won the William Carlos Williams prize (1989, PSA). Bay of Angels (Anhinga Press, 2014) is her newest collection.  She has retired as University Distinguished Professor, from Michigan State University after 37 years, and lives with her husband the photographer, Robert Turney, in East Lansing, MI.