April is Poetry Month: Misgivings by William Matthews

From Stacey: “I find this poem reassuring. For me, it’s about the intimacy of cooking and eating with a loved one and how something so simple can keep real-life fears at bay. The poem, by William Matthews was first published in 1997; I read it when it appeared in the 1998 volume of Best American Poetry. Now it seems eerily prescient with the references to disasters that have come to pass.”


“Perhaps you’ll tire of me,” muses
my love, although she’s like a great city
to me, or a park that finds new
ways to wear each flounce of light
and investiture of weather.
Soil doesn’t tire of rain, I think,

but I know what she fears: plans warp,
planes explode, topsoil gets peeled away
by floods. And worse than what we can’t
control is what we could; those drab
scuttled marriages we shed so
gratefully may auger we’re on our owns

for good reason. “Hi, honey,” chirps Dread
when I come through the door; “you’re home.”
Experience is a great teacher
of the value of experience,
its claustrophobic prudence,
its gloomy name-the-disasters-

in-advance charisma. Listen,
my wary one, it’s far too late
to unlove each other. Instead let’s cook
something elaborate and not
invite anyone to share it but eat it
all up very very slowly.

– by William Matthews, After All: Last Poems (Mariner Books, 2000)