Life Expectancy

Meg Tyler

Had I known I’d find my way into this full-blown love,

might I have creased my brow less? The boy with his violin,

the daughter with her social ease, the husband plotting out

the design of Mexican tiles across the floor.


In this little house, where the wooden stairs creak

and he must sometimes duck beneath the beams, I have found

the unexpected beauty of habit. Birds address

what airs between the trees that hem the garden.

Meg Tyler

Meg Tyler directs the Institute for the Study of Irish Culture at Boston University where she is also associate professor of humanities. She is the author of a book on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, A Singing Contest: Conventions of Sound in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney (Routledge), and a chapbook of poems, Poor Earth. Her poems and essays have been published in the Kenyon Review, AGNI, Literary Imagination, the Irish Review, Salmagundii, and other journals. 


Had I known I’d find my way into this full-blown love, might I have creased my brow less? The boy with his violin, the daughter with her social ease, the husband plotting out the design of Mexican tiles across the floor. In this little house, where the wooden stairs creak and he must sometimes duck …

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