People should open on top like a cup.
A piece of bread should be able to sop
some of us up. We should be milk-like
or like wine. We should not have to be
trying to get our caps off all the time.
The storybook boy attempts the simple gesture
of baring his head for his emperor,
but another hat has appeared.
This happens over and over.
Who does not share his despair of simplicity,
of acting clearly and with dignity?
And what pleasure can be found in the caps,
brightly colored and infinitely various,
that pile up so high they bury us?
Kay Ryan teaches at the College of Marin in California. She has won many awards, and in 2008, she was appointed the sixteenth Poet Laureate. Her latest book, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, is forthcoming in March, 2010 from Grove Press.
Kay Ryan, The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore