The Art of Disappearing

It is a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. I read it from Roger Housden’s book, ten poems to last a lifetime. I love his commentary:

“There comes a time when you have to decide what kind of life you are going to live. Will you live by the dictates of your social persona, or by the softer, more genuine voice that you hear sometimes in the twilight, or before falling asleep? Both have a place, but there are times when the latter must be followed, whatever the cost, if something precious in you is not to die.”

The Art of Disappearing

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.

Someone 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?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.

Trees. The monastery bell at twighlight.
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 haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’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.
Then decide what to do with your time.

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