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Walking Home

Everything dies, I said. How had that started?
A tree? The winter? Not me, she said.

And I said, Oh yeah? And she said, I’m reincarnating.
Ha, she said, See you in a few thousand years!

Why years, I wondered, why not minutes? Days?
She found that so funny—Ha Ha—doubled over—

Years, she said, confidently.
I think you and I have known each other a few lifetimes, I said.

She said, I have never before been a soul on this earth.
(It was cold. We were hungry.) Next time, you be the mother, I said.

No way, Jose, she said, as we turned the last windy corner.

—Marie Howe

from MAGDALENE: POEMS by Marie Howe.

Copyright © 2017 by Marie Howe.

Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Marie Howe (1950- ) is the author of four poetry collections, including Magdalene (W. W. Norton, 2017). Howe has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia, and NYU.

Learn more about Marie Howe at The Poetry Foundation.