Louis Simpson
The Long Afternoon

Behind the glass door

stands a babushka,

a grandmother doll.

It unscrews. There's another

inside, a size smaller,

that unscrews, and so on.


A pipe called a hookah

with a malachite bowl...


The gramophone wheezes,

scratches, and speaks:

"Avalon. Fox Trot."

White flannels and knees

intently two-stepping

step onto the floor.


At four there's a breeze.

The bamboo trunks creak

and talk in the lane.

A house lizard hops

from the vine to the rail...

cock his head at me.


"Remember?" he croaks.

Dear brother, I do! 

Found In Volume 26, No. 05
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Louis Simpson
About the Author

Louis Simpson published more than eighteen books of original poetry, including Voices in the Distance: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2010), Struggling Times (BOA Editions, 2009), The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems, 1940-2001 (2003), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award in Poetry and the Griffin International Poetry Prize, Nombres et poussière, Adventures of the Letter I (1971), and Selected Poems (1965).


Amongst his many other honors are the Prix de Rome, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Medal for Excellence from Columbia University. He died in 2012.