Partial View

We wake to a world in which every choice
is the wrong one. There should have been
corn, not squash, in the garden; an oak,
not a willow, in the side yard. Long ago,
parents chose the wrong town in which
to live and raise children, and every
conversation since has been a limitation.
Of an artist’s most important piece, critics
—most of them—agree, though easily,
confidently, they could have chosen another.
Robert Carter III, not Washington. Where
might a nation be? What voice at its core?
John Woolman, not Benjamin Franklin.
A different psalm than the 23rd. The novels
we have, as rich as they are, weighed against
the ones we’ve overlooked, the ones no one
wrote. An incompleteness, a partial view.
A meadow that might have been a Louvre,
except a contractor built a row of houses.
The call of one voice, the answer of another,
neither the grace that might have been spoken.

Jeff Hardin

Jeff Hardin

Jeff Hardin is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, No Other Kind of World, Small Revolution, and Restoring the Narrative. His work has been honored with the Nicholas Roerich Prize, the Donald Justice Prize, and the X. J. Kennedy Prize. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Hudson Review, The Laurel Review, Hopkins Review, Copper Nickel, and many others. His seventh collection, Watermark, is forthcoming in early 2022. He lives and teaches in Tennessee.
Jeff Hardin

Latest posts by Jeff Hardin (see all)

Author: Jeff Hardin

Jeff Hardin is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, No Other Kind of World, Small Revolution, and Restoring the Narrative. His work has been honored with the Nicholas Roerich Prize, the Donald Justice Prize, and the X. J. Kennedy Prize. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Hudson Review, The Laurel Review, Hopkins Review, Copper Nickel, and many others. His seventh collection, Watermark, is forthcoming in early 2022. He lives and teaches in Tennessee.