The Art of Disappearing

Naomi Shihab Nye


When they say Donā€™t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone is telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

Itā€™s not that you donā€™t love them anymore.
Youā€™re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you havenā€™t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
donā€™t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
ThenĀ decide what to do with your time.



This poem is copyrighted by the poet and is included in the Healing Circles Global poetry wiki because it provides insight, nourishment, and inspiration to the hosts and participants of healing circles. We request that hosts and participants honor the poet’s copyright by not printing or sharing it in any other way. In fact, please support the poet’s work by purchasing the book in which this poem was originally published:Ā Naomi Shihab Nye, fromĀ Words Under the Words: Selected PoemsĀ (Far Corner Books, 1995)