American Life in Poetry: Column 156


We greatly appreciate your newspaper’s use of this column, and today we want to recognize newspaper employees by including a poem from the inside of a newsroom. David Tucker is deputy managing editor of the New Jersey “Star-Ledger” and has been a reporter and editor at the “Toronto Star” and the “Philadelphia Inquirer.” He was on the “Star-Ledger” team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Mr. Tucker was awarded a Witter-Bynner fellowship for poetry in 2007 by former U. S. Poet Laureate, Donald Hall.

Today’s News

A slow news day, but I did like the obit about the butcher   
who kept the same store for fifty years.   People remembered   
when his street was sweetly roaring, aproned   
with flower stalls and fish stands.   
The stock market wandered, spooked by presidential winks,   
by micro-winds and the shadows of earnings.   News was stationed   
around the horizon, ready as summer clouds to thunder--   
but it moved off and we covered the committee meeting   
at the back of the statehouse, sat around on our desks,   
then went home early.   The birds were still singing,   
the sun just going down.   Working these long hours,   
you forget how beautiful the early evening can be,   
the big houses like ships turning into the night,   
their rooms piled high with silence.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2006 by David Tucker. Reprinted from “Late for Work” by David Tucker, Mariner Books, 2006, by permission of the author. First printed in “Montana Journalism Review.” Introduction copyright © 2019 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.