While Raking


The family picnic. I am eight years old.
my brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts,
mother and father, grandmother, some friends,
in Prospect Park, at the peak of Summer.
The gentle beer, the Irish stories told
too many times, the rueful fear of ants,
Patrick with Martha’s hand, the odds and ends
of living I had from him and from her.


Even back then I knew I needed more
than I was meant to have, would study law
or audit giant claims in a moneyed haze,
when Mitch said, “When is a door not a door?
When it’s ajar”. And that is when I knew,
as clear as sin, just how to spend my days.

Daniel J. Langton

About the poet: Daniel J. Langton’s work has appeared in Poetry, the Paris Review, the Atlantic Monthly, the TLS, the Harvard Advocate and similar journals. His Querencia won the Devins Award and the London Prize; among his other collections is Life Forms.