American Life in Poetry: Column 597
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Stuart Dybek was born in Chicago, where there are at least a couple of hundred hotels a poet might stroll past, looking up at the windows. Here's a poem from his book, Streets in Their Own Ink, from Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
Sometimes they are the only thing beautiful
about a hotel.
come winter they have a way of disappearing,
disguised as dirty light,
limp beside a puttied pane.
Then some April afternoon
a roomer jacks a window open,
a breeze intrudes,
and suddenly they want to fly,
looking up from the street,
are deceived a moment
a girl in an upper story
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 ©2004 by Stuart Dybek, “Curtains,” (Streets in Their Own Ink, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2004. Poem reprinted by permission of Stuart Dybek 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.