My hand against the small of a back,
the feel of a dress, that touch
of starched fabric, its damp warmth—
was that her or some other girl?
Scattered fragments, scattered faces—
the way a breeze at morning
disperses mist across a pond,
so the letters of her name
return to the alphabet. Her eyes,
were they gray? How can we not love
this world for what it gives us? How
can we not hate it for what it takes away?
—Stephen Dobyns, last three strophes to “Pastel Dresses” in Velocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992 (Penguin Books, 1994)