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For You

April 26, 2015

By Maureen N. McLane


I’d never heard of Maureen N. McLane – Wikipaedia says she’s Associate Professor of English at New York University – but this love poem, in this week’s New Yorker, hits the spot.

For you

It’s been a long while since I was up before you
but here I am, up before you.

I see you sleeping now that I am up before you.
I see the whole morning before you.

How dare the sun be up before you
when the moon last night promised to hold off the sun just for you!

I hear the church bells ring before you.
Most days it’s true the birds are up before you.

I should make the coffee, as I am up before you.
I might just lie here though before you

wake up. Let me look at you, since I am here before you.
I am so rarely simply quiet before you.

The orange cat who’ll soon wake you is always up before you.
In Morocco or Lamu the muezzin would be up before you.

And yes it’s true most days the sun is up before you—
long before me and a while before you.

Shall I make it a habit, to be up before you?
To see your soft cheek and feel your breath if I am up before you?

Shall I prepare the mise-en-scène for you?
Hold the shot of the sun in my eye just for you?

Go back to sleep my love for you
are only dreaming I am up before you.

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