The Undeserving River


by John Ashbery
Illustration by Brooke Weber

The Undeserving River

John Ashbery
16 Snaps


The tour we went on was a house, actually.
Kittens lived behind its clapboards,
rarely issuing forth for food.
A whole other hierarchy of beings
was established there, who saw little need
to attend to business, e.g., a letterhead.

At times around four o’clock a leaf pile
would get blown by the wind.
Except for that the weather was mild
especially by comparison with what we thought
we had already experienced
in harder times, when things were just so.

Gym equipment was under-utilized, as always.
In my notes I had three or four things I wanted
to draw to your attention, but it no longer seems
important. I’ll go out the way I came in,
incidentally wishing you and yours a happy Christmas
while we go visit our parent-kids
versus the people of Missouri
and Raymond Verandah and his orchestra,
and turn up again. Be that way!

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