by Diana O’Hehir

The exact taste of happiness, tangy, somewhere between loquat
and pear, why don’t
We ever know it when we meet it?
No one says, Here’s happiness’ weather,
Planes overhead like white paint.

Three years from now or seven years we’ll
Look at a photograph, the people small, communal as gnats, the
house reduced
In sunshine, no ghost yet
Over anyone’s shoulder, no stranger riding up with a message
from the Tribunal,
Knocking all the ice plant off the slope
In his climb to our living room.

And we’ll say: happiness
Wasn’t round or square.
It never named itself, was a series of negatives:
You were not inconstant, not sleepless;
I was not
Counting things.

via Persimmon Tree
From Spells for Not Dying Again
Eastern Washington University Press
Copyright © 1996
All rights reserved.


  1. marthasnail · July 2, 2009

    i need to write this one in my notebook. thanks for sharing it.

  2. denise · July 3, 2009


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