I wait. I don’t go. He will come, the one
who waited for me each day
at the edge of the schoolyard.
I wait. And I am bitten thin
by waiting. And I grow
dense with luggage and time.
He will come, though
he may never come, who wrote his name
by drawing a spear borne in a heart.
In this life, this is how
one must wait, past despair,
the heart a fossil, the minutes molten, the feet turned to stone.
I know a boy who fell asleep
one second before his father returned, his name
a lozenge thinning on his father’s tongue.
I’ve heard of prisoners who died
a minute before rescue.
Such waiting has nothing to do with hope;
it has less to do with patience;
it’s simply the way a soul is bent.
Such waiting is impossible.
But I wait,
for it’s the only
possibility left to me.
And though I stopped waiting years ago,
I continue to wait.
he comes, whom death has made giant.
And small as the rain
and as many
Whose Sabbath shoes
I blackened each Saturday
and buffed to hard armor.
Who set me on a chair and two dictionaries
and made me read an old book
of ancient and terrifying stories
while sucking butterscotch drops
he unwrapped for me.
Sweet learning, he called it.
no one comes,
though I sense his pure approach.
Maybe he is lost,
the lonely one
who is no longer lonely.
Maybe he waits for me.
Maybe he fears he is forgotten,
the way I am forgotten,
each of us the one
who, in that childhood game, shouts,
though no one hear, Here I Am!
— Here I Am by Li-young lee