Jack Gilbert

Spring

I call it exile, or being relegated. I call it the provinces. And all the time it is my heart. My imperfect heart which prefers this distance from people. Prefers the half-meetings which cannot lead to intimacy. Provisional friendships that are interrupted near the beginning. A pleasure in not communicating. And inside, no despair or longing. A taste for solitude. The knowledge that love preserves freedom in always failing. An exile by nature. Where, indeed, would I ever be a citizen? This poem originally ran in the October 20, 2011, issue of the magazine.

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