American Life in Poetry: Column 250


I’m very fond of poems that demonstrate their authors’ attentiveness to the world about them, as regular readers of this column have no doubt noticed. Here is a nine-word poem by Joette Giorgis, who lives in Pennsylvania, that is based upon noticing and then thinking about something so ordinary that it might otherwise be overlooked.  Even the separate words are flat and commonplace. But so much feeling comes through!


children grown—
dust accumulates
on half the kitchen table

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 ©2009 by Joette Giorgis and reprinted from Modern Haiku, Vol. 40.1, Winter-Spring 2009, by permission of Joette Giorgis and the publisher.
Introduction copyright © 2020 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.