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The Partial Explanation

Seems like a long time
Since the waiter took my order.
Grimy little luncheonette,
The snow falling outside.

Seems like it has grown darker
Since I last heard the kitchen door
Behind my back
Since I last noticed
Anyone pass on the street.

A glass of ice-water
Keeps me company
At this table I chose myself
Upon entering.

And a longing,
Incredible longing
To eavesdrop
On the conversation
Of cooks.

—Charles Simic

from Selected Early Poems, 1999
George Braziller Publishers

Reprinted by permission of George Braziller Publishers. Copyright 1999 by George Braziller. For further permissions information, contact George Braziller Publishers, 171 Madison Ave. Suite 1105, New York, NY 10016.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Charles Simic (1924- ) served as U.S Poet Laureate from 2007 to 2008. He has published over 60 books, including 20 poetry collections, including The Lunatic (Ecco, 2015).

Learn more about Charles Simic.