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’s 14th book of poems, Insomnia (W. W. Norton, 2015), won the Towson University Prize for Literature. In 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement.  In May, 2018 W. W. Norton published A Dog Runs Through It.