Like Two Negative Numbers Multiplied By Rain

Lie down, you are horizontal.
Stand up, you are not.

I wanted my fate to be human.

Like a perfume
that does not choose the direction it travels,
that cannot be straight or crooked, kept out or kept.

Yes, No, Or
— a day, a life, slips through them,
taking off the third skin,
taking off the fourth.

The logic of shoes becomes at last simple,
an animal question, scuffing.

Old shoes, old roads —
the questions keep being new ones.
Like two negative numbers multiplied by rain
into oranges and olives.

Jane Hirshfield

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