Daniel J. Langton

The woman across from me on the train
is reading the book I read at 22,
the year I noticed another woman
reading that book in the grass by a lake.

I know the weight of the air, my grey brain
was green then, my flesh was soft, my hear new,
how could I know my fortune was human,
that I could see and judge and never take.

The still lake is still there, the book is too,
as far as I can see, where would it go?
The woman is gone, she has stood up straight
and left the grass, the lake, the day, the book.

You know the weight of the air, as if you
had read the book to her, had let her know
this was what it meant, had read to her late,
had read to her for all the time it took.





I was invited to a country club this Summer, my first time in such an exalted place; it smelled like the lobbies of hotels where I used to deliver packages. There was a woman by the pool reading Dylan Thomas's Collected Poems, and it took me back.

Robt. Lowerll once said, "I want a literature imagined, not recalled," and I did rearrange things. I put her on a train as contrast to the girl at the lake.

And one other big change. The girl at the lake? It was Lake Champlain, and I married her.