The practical castle is cold.
All around it the world is a stream bed.
A few well-placed holes
under the windows
let rain weep back outward.
The rain is string
for wrapping a package no one knows
the inside of, they just keep trying to mail it.
Perhaps it is licorice. Perhaps it is kindness.
The package so large even wetness becomes an umbrella.
JANE HIRSHFIELD is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Come, Thief, (Knopf, 2011; Bloodaxe, 2012) and After (HarperCollins, 2006; Bloodaxe, 2006), shortlisted for England’s T.S. Eliot Prize and named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Financial Times (UK). She has also written a now-classic collection of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (HarperCollins, 1997), and edited and co-translated four books collecting the work of world poets of the past. Hirshfield’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the Times Literary Supplement, The Washington Post, Poetry, Poetry London, The American Poetry Review, and seven editions of The Best American Poetry. Her honors include The Poetry Center Book Award, the California Book Award, finalist selection for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012 she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.