As he writes, without looking at the sea,
he feels the tip of his pen begin to tremble.
The tide is going out across the shingle.
But it isn’t that. No,
it’s because at that moment she chooses
to walk into the room without any clothes on.
Drowsy, not even sure where she is
for a moment. She waves the hair from her forehead.
Sits on the toilet with her eyes closed,
head down. Legs sprawled. He sees her
through the doorway. Maybe
she’s remembering what happened that morning.
For after a time, she opens one eye and looks at him.
And sweetly smiles.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Raymond Carver's poem An Afternoon


  1. Sean Kriner says:

    Could it be that he was writing about his illness? And then…the experience of right now in all it’s beauty drifts in, unaware, tinkling, reminding the writer that this is all any of us really have and it’s what truly matters.

  2. alan says:

    doesn’t everyone have those moments of complete vulnerability? The narrator seems to be trying to write something important when suddenly he is disturbed by a vision of his lover, and it is this sight that seems to make his task meaningless or impossible to achieve. Who can capture the beauty of this woman?, he seems to suggest. I love the unexpectedness of the line @but it isn’t that@. What isn’t that? Carver doesn’t tell us, because he is so smithen with this image of his lover. how it disarms him, and all of us!

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