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Pencil Sketch of Self & Other

When you kissed me it was as if

some one had just stepped lightly out of the room.

How shy I was in any crowd,

and you, how adept!

How I kept you waiting

longer than any boy uncertain of his sex!

Your mother, musical, suicidal,

slept with a thread tied around her nurse’s finger

(so I learned a few details), your rich father

photographed beside his swimming pool….

How we almost ruined each other, you

with your hope of children,

I with my body which I took too seriously;

That stunned room….

A story, like The Garden party,

no longer even possible.

Yet I want to forgive us both

as if it still matters.


Jane Cooper

Cooper was the author of five books of poetry and a professor of Sarah Lawrence College.


The Brooklyn Rail


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