American Life in Poetry: Column 360

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Carol L. Gloor is an attorney living in Chicago and Savanna, Illinois. I especially like this poem of hers for its powerful ending, which fittingly uses the legal language of trusts and estates.

Moment

At the moment of my mother’s death
I am rinsing frozen chicken.
No vision, no rending
of the temple curtain, only
the soft give of meat.
I had not seen her in four days.
I thought her better,
and the hospital did not call,
so I am fresh from
an office Christmas party,
scotch on my breath
as I answer the phone.
And in one moment all my past acts
become irrevocable.


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 © 2010 by Carol L. Gloor, whose chapbook is Assisted Living (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Poem reprinted from Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Vol. 25, no. 3, Winter 2010, by permission of Carol L. Gloor and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2018 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.