Kay Ryan



                        Doubt


A chick has just so much time
to chip its way out, just so much
egg energy to apply to the weak spot
or whatever spot it started at.
It can't afford doubt. Who can?
Doubt uses albumen
at twice the rate of work.
One backward look by any of us
can cost what it cost Orpheus.
Neither may you answer
the stranger's knock;
you know it is the Person from Porlock
who eats dreams for dinner,
his napkin stained the most delicate colors.


Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, Grove Press, 2011.