Put it this way, I give you, here, now, a magic key.
What does it open? This key I give you, what exactly
does it open? Anything, anything! But what?
I found
that what I thought about was the failure of my marriage,
the three or four lost years just at the end and after.
For me there is no key, not even the sum total of our acts.
But you are a poet. You pretend to make poems. And?

She sat on the couch sobbing, her rib cage shaking
from its accumulated abysses of grief and thick sorrow.
I don’t love you, she said. The terrible thing is
that I don’t think I ever loved you. He thought to himself
fast, to numb it, that she didn’t mean it, thought
what he had done to provoke it. It was May.
Also pines, lawn, the bay, a blossoming apricot.
Everyone their own devastation. Each on its own scale.
I don’t know what the key opens. I know we die,
and don’t know what is at the end. We don’t behave well.
And there are monsters out there, and millions of others
to carry out their orders. We live half our lives
in fantasy, and words. This morning I am pretending
to be walking down the mountain in the heat.
A vault of blue sky, traildust, the sweet medicinal
scent of mountain grasses, and at trailside—
I’m a little ashamed that I want to end this poem
singing, but I want to end this poem singing—the wooly
closed-down buds of the sunflower to which, in English,
someone gave the name, sometime, of pearly everlasting.

Robert Hass, “Interrupted Meditation”