Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Room in The Past

by Ted Kooser

It’s a kitchen. Its curtains fill
with a morning light so bright
you can’t see beyond its windows
into the afternoon. A kitchen
falling through time with its things
in their places, the dishes jingling
up in the cupboard, the bucket
of drinking water rippled as if
a truck had just gone past, but that truck
was thirty years. No one’s at home
in this room. Its counter is wiped,
and the dishrag hangs from its nail,
a dry leaf. In housedresses of mist,
blue aprons of rain, my grandmother
moved through this life like a ghost,
and when she had finished her years,
she put them all back in their places
and wiped out the sink, turning her back
on the rest of us, forever.

Monday, April 12, 2010

to do

write about the cormorants.

sew bermuda shorts and promptly decide they are unflattering.

make flowers for hair.

write about the girl who felt she was beginning to outgrow her town like a shirt with disintegrating fibers.

sew her a new shirt.

wonder how many poems must i write about you before i am done writing about you?

draw the bush tits in the apple tree.

make dumplings.

forget and relearn how to talk to other people.

wear shirt inside out.

write about learning how to talk to other people.

pick the early lilacs.

call him and tell him about the hawks on the side of the freeway.

take photos of dirt.

sew funny animal pins. wear funny animal pins on shirt.

post drawings by your students around the house and show them to friends too many times.

make magnetic poems that don't feel like your own.

write about how the magnetic poems you wrote don't feel like your own.

have too many vodka crans and embarrass yourself at the bar. wish you drank something other than vodka crans.

lose your shirt.

take a nap in your car at work.

let your students play go fish when they ask.

go grocery shopping and spend forty dollars on tea and organic meat. and a bag of pistachios.

listen to the same song on repeat.

tell your friends how great they are, to hear them say it back to you.

wish you had AAA batteries.

rewrite about the cormorants.

try on five different outfits and settle on the one you wore the day before.

numbly watch the flickers pecking on the lawn.

wonder who you can borrow a lawn mower from.

spill coffee all over the front of your shirt.

sew pajama pants eight sizes too large.

go to the super walmart and search for a card you saw there five months ago. leave without finding it. disappointed.

invite your younger brother up to get drunk. listen to his stories about getting drunk and worry that he is getting drunk too much.

worry that you are getting drunk too much.

go to a tourist attraction in the town where you work. wonder who all the people are.

realize you do not have any laundry detergent.

see boy you had a crush on in college at favorite restaurant. avoid eye contact and leave quickly.

discuss with students the difference between dragons and dinosaurs.

rewrite rewrite about cormorants.

forget shirt. leave shirt sitting, stained, on dryer for days.

Monday, April 5, 2010

three things i thought


The young tree that fell down in the wind storm

last October continues to bloom and this just-rained

March-morning the black-eyed juncos are chasing

each other around the branches. Through winter

I thought the tree would die, but now to learn

that it is only laying down.


I keep thinking about you: following the kestrel

down Hemming road: how you would lift me

like a small child and carry me from room to room.

All this time I thought love was enough, but now

to learn of wanting.


Who are the birds about the branches, strands

of fine hair in their beaks? I had thought that I

was the tree, but I am not. I am the black eyes

of the bark and the birds, swept dry by the wind.