Marge Piercy
Missing is a pain
in everyplace
making a toothache
out of a day.
But to miss something
that never was:
the longest guilt
the regret that comes down
like a fine ash
year after year
is the shadow of what
we did not dare.
All the days that go out
like neglected cigarettes,
the days that dribble away.
How often does love strike?
We turn into ghosts
loitering outside doorways
we imagined entering.
In the lovers' room
the floor creaks,
dust sifts from the ceiling,
the golden bed has been hauled away
by the dealer
in unused dreams.

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From Circles on the Water, Marge Piercy (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).
Poem Copyright © 1971, Marge Piercy.

All other content Copyright © 1996, Marc Mosko.