Marie Howe is the author of three volumes of poetry, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2008); The Good Thief (1998); and What the Living Do (1997), and is the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994). Stanley Kunitz selected Howe for a Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets. She has, in addition, been a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and a recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others. Currently, Howe teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia, and New York University. She is the 2012-2014 Poet Laureate of New York State.
The rules, once again applied
One loaf = one loaf. One fish = one fish.
The so-called three kings were dead.
And the woman who had been healed grew tired of telling her story.
and sometimes asked her daughter to tell it.
People generally worshipped where their parents had worshipped—
The men who'd hijacked the airplane prayed where the dead pilots had been sitting,
and the passengers prayed from their seats
—so many songs went up and out into the thinning air ...
People, listening and watching, nodded and wept, and, leaving the theater,
one turned to the other and said, What do you want to do now?
And the other one said, I don't know. What do you want to do?
It was the Coming of Ordinary Time. First Sunday, second Sunday.
And then (for who knows how long) it was here.
—"Prologue," from A Kingdom of Ordinary Time © 2009, from W.W. Norton. Used with permission of author.
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