Online Poems

for Craig White's Literature Courses

Tracy K. Smith (b. 1972)

I Don't Miss It

But sometimes I forget where I am,
Imagine myself inside that life again.

Recalcitrant mornings. Sun perhaps,
Or more likely colorless light

Filtering its way through shapeless cloud.         5

And when I begin to believe I haven't left,
The rest comes back. Our couch. My smoke

Climbing the walls while the hours fall.
Straining against the noise of traffic, music,

Anything alive, to catch your key in the door.    10
And that scamper of feeling in my chest,

As if the day, the night, wherever it is
I am by then, has been only a whir

Of something other than waiting.

We hear so much about what love feels like.     15
Right now, today, with the rain outside,

And leaves that want as much as I do to believe
In May, in seasons that come when called,

It's impossible not to want
To walk into the next room and let you               20

Run your hands down the side of my legs,
Knowing perfectly well what they know.

from Duende (Graywolf Press, 2007)

lifted from

Discussion questions:

1. What's Romantic (or not) about the poem?

2. What gothic or sublime elements are identifiable? What mood or tone do they build?

3. As the poem is written by an African American poet, what pressures to read the poem either separately from Romanticism or as part of it?

4. Given that the poem is written during the Modern or postmodern era, how may the poem transcend Romanticism to become Modern(ist) or postmodern? Post-racial?