Each day I choose
from among the steepening reminders
of all I have failed to finish, failed to begin.
I open a right-hand cover and read the last page.
Phrases severe and perfect rise before me,
wrung from every extremity of joy and sleek-limbed loss.
Borges, Sinyavsky, Hadewijch, Sappho, Li Po.
More arrive each week, ink sharp as new hunger.
And these are only the books:
the thing already ambered, capable of waiting, turned to words.
From "Given Sugar, Given Salt" by Jane Hirshfield (HarperCollins: 88 pp., $24)