Jennifer Michael Hecht is a historian, poet, writer, and lecturer. Her first poetry book, The Next Ancient World, was published in 2001 and received several awards. The poem I am sharing today is called September and I first read it in the anthology Poems to Live By in Uncertain Times, edited by Joan Murray. You can learn more about Jennifer Michael Hecht on her website.
Tonight there must be people who are getting what they want.
I let my oars fall into the water.
Good for them. Good for them, getting what they want.
The night is so still that I forget to breathe.
The dark air is getting colder. Birds are leaving.
Tonight there are people getting just what they need.
The air is so still that it seems to stop my heart.
I remember you in a black and white photograph
taken this time of some year. You were leaning against
a half-shed tree, standing in the leaves the tree had lost.
When I finally exhale it takes forever to be over.
Tonight, there are people who are so happy,
that they have forgotten to worry about tomorrow.
Somewhere, people have entirely forgotten about tomorrow.
My hand trails in the water.
I should not have dropped those oars. Such a soft wind.
– Jennifer Michael Hecht