Two Poems

 by William Logan

The Locked Closet

Being clothed we shall not be found naked. ~II Corinthians

In shadowed ranks, the suitcases huddled,
dozens of them—rusty leather satchels, alligator grips,

Gladstone bags with worn labels of European hotels.
Some of the cases had burst open, exhausted by the wait.

Others had been forced to yield their secrets, disgorging
flowered tea-dresses of some long-forgotten fashion,

or collarless shirts in fading antique stripes.
A dozen hats slumped half naked in blown carrying-cases.

And shoes! There lay a rat’s nest of brogues and oxfords,
even a hob-nail Abraham Lincoln might have worn!

The abandoned clothing suffered like good servants,
still patient for their masters. It was only an obscure

New England town, but once the Magi
had left their luggage behind, intending one day to return.

 

The Other Other Country

I wrote you a brief but rather dull letter. ~T. S. Eliot

The days bled alabaster,
the nothing of sky over Paradise,

where the original sin was weather.
Did they miss the wildness

of the palms, the angels
who brought breakfast on tea trays?

Each dawn would be a palimpsest
of storms almost forgotten,

humiliation, love.

About William Logan

William Logan’s new book of poems, Madame X, was published by Penguin last fall. He received the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry in the spring. His next book of criticism, Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure, will be published by Columbia University Press in the spring of 2014.

William Logan

William Logan is online at