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The obvious is difficult

To prove. Many prefer

The hidden. I did, too.

I listened to the trees.

They had a secret

Which they were about to

Make known to me--

And then didn't.

Summer came. Each tree

On my street had its own

Scheherazade. My nights

Were a part of their wild

Storytelling. We were

Entering dark houses,

Always more dark houses,

Hushed and abandoned.

There was someone with eyes closed

On the upper floors.

The fear of it, and the wonder,

Kept me sleepless.

The truth is bald and cold,

Said the woman

Who always wore white.

She didn't leave her room.

The sun pointed to one or two

Things that had survived

The long night intact.

The simplest things,

Difficult in their obviousness.

They made no noise.

It was the kind of day

People described as "perfect."

Gods disguising themselves

As black hairpins, a hand-mirror,

A comb with a tooth missing?

No! That wasn't it.

Just things as they are,

Unblinking, lying mute

In that bright light--

And the trees waiting for the night.

The White Room

Charles Simic

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