In her own words...



Back then, with time on my hands
and in our back yard, I waited for the future.
The Future. For me as for everyone else,
the very words had a whiff of promise.
If things were not going too well at present

they would surely delight us in the future.
Long in coming, the future, it never came
to the back yard, front yard, palace yard,
church yard, prison yard, and especially
the junk yard that prefers the past.

Later I understood that waiting is an art
and the best place to practice it is in waiting
rooms where you can wait for hours on end
for the train you've already missed, for the
sky to fall, the doctor, for hell to freeze over.

The sky hangs higher than ever and
at night is studded with stars
"The Doctor had an emergency.
He'll be here tomorrow."
And hell? Nobody goes there anymore.

Still later, when I was more in touch with
the world, they told me, "You have a future."
I thought that over. Even if I believed them,
what did my little future, whatever that was,
have to do with the real thing, whatever that is?

Surely this everywhere present is real
enough and eager, yet unable, to tell me
what I am waiting for now.


About this work

"Waiting" was first published in 2011 in Dorothea Tanning's book, Coming to That: Poems, Graywolf Press, New York, p. 49, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.