American Life in Poetry: Column 584
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Faced by a loss, and perhaps by a loss of words, many of us find something to do with our hands. Here's a poem about just that by Arden Levine, published in 2015 in an issue of Agni Magazine. Ms. Levine lives in New York.
She tells him she's leaving him and he
bakes a pie. His pies are exquisite,
their crusts like crinoline.
He doesn't change clothes, works
in slacks, shirtsleeves rolled.
Summer makes the kitchen unbearable
but he suffers beautifully, tenderly
cuts the strawberries, pours
into the deep curve of the bowl.
She hadn't missed his hands since
last they drew her to his body.
Now she watches them stroke the edges
of the dough, shape it like cooling glass.
When the oven opens, his brow drips,
he brings his hands to his face.
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 ©2015 by Arden Levine, “Offering,” (AGNI Magazine, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Arden Levine and the publisher. 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.