EACH DAY I CHOOSE FROM AMONG THE STEEPENING REMINDERS By Jane Hirshfield

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.

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From "Given Sugar, Given Salt" by Jane Hirshfield (HarperCollins: 88 pp., $24)

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