Reasons to Be Happy

Some birds are people-watchers.
The worms can hear us walking over them.
The loaves and fishes multiplied the Christians.

We were wrong about so many things.
We thought the world was mute,
or just disinterested, or dead.

Yet the sunrise liked being looked at
by sleepy cabdrivers. The billboard was unashamed
of its live nude 24-hour girls.

The night-wind rustled
through the tops of cedar trees
standing all around a certain house

where worried people
lay in bed and listened.
What were the names

of those old Greek gods?
And where did they go?
Atlas—that’s the one

who spent a long time
holding up
what did not belong to him.

Anthony Hoagland is an American poet and writer. His poetry collection 2003, What Narcissism Means to Me, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2000 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and a fellowship to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. His poems and criticism have appeared in such publications as Poetry Magazine, Ploughshares, Agni, Threepenny Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ninth Letter, Southern Indiana Review, American Poetry Review, and Harvard Review.