Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Dec. 15, 2013

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Dec. 15, 2013

I don't remember ever having a blind date, but if I had, I suspect it would have gone just as the one goes in this poem by Jay Leeming, who lives in New York state.

Blind Date

Our loneliness sits with us at dinner, an unwanted guest

who never says anything. It's uncomfortable. Still

we get to know each other, like students allowed

to use a private research library for only one night.

I go through her file of friends, cities and jobs.

"What was that like?" I ask. "What did you do then?"

We are each doctors who have only ourselves

for medicine, and long to prescribe it for what ails

the other. She has a nice smile. Maybe, maybe . . .

I tell myself. But my heart is a cynical hermit

who frowns once, then shuts the door of his room

and starts reading a book. All I can do now is want

to want her. Our polite conversation coasts

like a car running on fumes, and then rolls to a stop;

we split the bill, and that third guest at the table

goes home with each of us, to talk and talk.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It also is supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 to '06. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Poem copyright 2011 by Leeming, whose most recent book of poems is "Miracle Atlas" (Big Pencil Press, 2011). Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher.


Topics (1):Books


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments