Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 13, 2018.
About this Poem 
“My poems are a mix of autobiography and pure invention and often take years of tinkering before they are ready, so I rarely remember when and how they began and do not keep old drafts to help me do so. I like being in the dark as to where I’m going and where I’ll end up. And I hope my readers feel the same.”
—Charles Simic
 

Hide and Seek

Haven’t found anyone 
From the old gang.
They must be still in hiding,
Holding their breaths
And trying not to laugh.

Our street is down on its luck
With windows broken
Where on summer nights 
One heard couples arguing,
Or saw them dancing to the radio.

The redhead we were 
All in love with,
Who sat on the fire escape,
Smoking late into the night, 
Must be in hiding too.

The skinny boy 
On crutches
Who always carried a book,
May not have 
Gotten very far.

Darkness comes early 
This time of year
Making it hard 
To recognize familiar faces 
In those of strangers.

Copyright © 2018 by Charles Simic. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets

Copyright © 2018 by Charles Simic. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets

Charles Simic

Charles Simic

Charles Simic received the Academy Fellowship in 1998 and was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2000. 

by this poet

poem

Your mother carried you
Out of the smoking ruins of a building
And set you down on this sidewalk
Like a doll bundled in burnt rags,
Where you now stood years later
Talking to a homeless dog,
Half-hidden behind a parked car,
His eyes brimming with hope
As he inched forward,

poem
Extraordinary efforts are being made
To hide things from us, my friend.
Some stay up into the wee hours
To search their souls. 
Others undress each other in darkened rooms.

The creaky old elevator
Took us down to the icy cellar first
To show us a mop and a bucket
Before it deigned to ascend again
With a sigh of
poem
Here come my night thoughts
On crutches,
Returning from studying the heavens.
What they thought about
Stayed the same,
Stayed immense and incomprehensible.

My mother and father smile at each other
Knowingly above the mantel.
The cat sleeps on, the dog
Growls in his sleep.
The stove is cold and so is the bed.