American Life in Poetry: Column 612


Here's a short but loaded poem by a six-year-old from South Carolina, Jo'lene Dailey, from RYPA, the Rattle Young Poets Anthology. Rattle is a prominent literary journal. How many children have felt this way?

What I Want to Do Most of the Time

It feels like I need
To go to my dad's house
And when I'm at my dad's house
I want to go to my mom's house
I want to be at both houses

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 ©2014 by Torie Dailey, “What I Want to Do Most of the Time,” from Rattle Young Poets Anthology, (The Rattle Foundation, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of Torie Dailey 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.