“The Garment” Louise Gluck

from Modern American Poetry

The Garment

                —Louise Gluck

My soul dried up.

Like a soul cast into a fire, but not completely,

not to annihilation.  Parched,

it continued.  Brittle,

not from solitude but from mistrust,

the aftermath of violence.

Spirit, invited to leave the body,

to stand exposed a moment, —

trembling, as before

your presentation to the divine–

spirit lured out of solitude

by the promise of grace,

how will you ever again believe

the love of another being?

My soul withered and shrank.

The body became for it too large a garment.

And when hope was returned to me

it was another hope entirely.

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