Linda Pastan

Imaginary Conversation | In the Orchard
March 15, 2013 Pastan Linda

Imaginary Conversation  


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

living surface.



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 was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1991-1995.  In 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement. Her book, Insomnia,  came out in 2015 and A Dog Runs Through It in 2018. Almost An Elegy: New and Later Selected Poems, will be published in 2022.