American Life in Poetry: Column 611

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

What would our lives be like if we didn't have imagination? Here's a poem by Rachel Richardson, who lives in California, from her book, Hundred-Year Wave, from Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Astronomer

A child climbs into a cardboard house,
shuts its doors and windows
to hold in the dark, and lies on her back
inside, looking up through its cut-out moon
and stars. She knows she is not looking
at the sky. But she calls out, still,
It's nighttime! I'm looking at the sky!


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Rachel Richardson, “Astronomer,” from Hundred-Year Wave, (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Rachel Richardson and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.