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CARVER, Raymond


No other word will do. For that’s what it was. Gravy.

Gravy these past ten years.

Alive, sober, working, loving and

being loved by a good woman. Eleven years

ago he was told he had six months to live

at the rate he was going. And he was going

nowhere but down. So he changed his ways

somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?

After that it was all gravy, every minute

of it, up to and including when he was told about,

well, some things that were breaking down and

building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”

he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.

I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone

expected. Pure gravy. And don’t forget it.”


So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.


Left off the highway and

down the hill. At the

bottom, hang another left.

Keep bearing left. The road

will make a Y. Left again.

There’s a creek on the left.

Keep going. Just before

the road ends, there’ll be

another road. Take it

and no other. Otherwise,

your life will be ruined

forever. There’s a log house

with a shake roof, on the left.

It’s not that house. It’s

the next house, just over

a rise. The house

where trees are laden with

fruit. Where phlox, forsythia,

and marigold grow. It’s

the house where the woman

stands in the doorway

wearing the sun in her hair. The one

who’s been waiting

all this time.

The woman who loves you.

The one who can say,

“What’s kept you?”