American Life in Poetry: Column 664

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

This poem by Stella Nesanovich, who lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana, appeared in a recent issue of Third Wednesday, a literary journal. At this time of great national division it's good to see a few people in a tire shop, coming together to share their common humanity. Her most recent book is Colors of the River: Poems, from Yellow Flag Press.

Everyday Grace

It can happen like that:
meeting at the market,
buying tires amid the smell
of rubber, the grating sound
of jack hammers and drills,
anywhere we share stories,
and grace flows between us.
  
The tire center waiting room
becomes a healing place
as one speaks of her husband's
heart valve replacement, bedsores
from complications. A man
speaks of multiple surgeries,
notes his false appearance
as strong and healthy.
 
I share my sister's death
from breast cancer, her
youngest only seven.
A woman rises, gives
her name, Mrs. Henry,
then takes my hand.
Suddenly an ordinary day
becomes holy ground.
 


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 Stella Nesanovich, “Everyday Grace,” from Third Wednesday, (Vol. IX, No. 4, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Stella Nesanovich 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.