Yes, how small and ordinary

In the Attic

There’s a half hour toward dusk when flies,
Trapped by the summer screens, expire
Musically in the dust of sills;
And ceilings slope toward remembrance.

The same crimson afternoons expire
Over the same few rooftops repeatedly;
Only, being stored up for remembrance,
They somehow escape the ordinary.

Childhood is like that, repeatedly
Lost in the very longueurs it redeems.
One forgets how small and ordinary
The world looked once by dusklight from above…

But not the moment which redeems
The drowsy arias of flies—
And the chin settles onto palms above
Numbed elbows propped up on rotting sills.


Donald Justice
from Collected Poems


Click here to purchase Justice's Collected Poems via IndieBound.

Links to more Donald Justice:
Biography via Poetry Foundation
Sampling of poems via Poetry Foundation
Text and audio of "Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy" via Poets.org