witness – kay ryan

Never trust a witness.
By the time a thing is
noticed, it has happened.
Some magician’s redirected
our attention to the rabbit.
The best life is suspected,
not examined.
And never trust reverse.
The mourners of the dead
count backward from the date
of the event, rehearsing
its approach, investing
final words with greatest weight,
as though weight ever
carried what we meant;
as though he could have
told us where he went.

– Kay Ryan

selecting a reader – ted kooser

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
“For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned.” And she will.

– Ted Kooser