While Someone Telephones

A poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Wasted, wasted minutes that couldn't be worse,
minutes of a barbaric condescension.
--Stare out the bathroom window at the fir-trees,
at their dark needles, accretions to no purpose
woodenly crystallized, and where two fireflies
are only lost.
Hear nothing but a train that goes by, must go by, like tension;
nothing. And wait:
maybe even now these minutes' host
emerges, some relaxed uncondescending stranger,
the heart's release.
And while the fireflies
are failing to illuminate these nightmare trees
might they not be his green gay eyes.

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