American Life in Poetry: Column 726


John Stanizzi is a poet living in Connecticut, whose work we've published before. His most recent collection of poems is Chants, from Cervena Barva Press. Our column has published a number of poems about facing the loss of family members, and others about the rush of time. This poem addresses both subjects.


First day of February,
and in the far corner of the yard
the Adirondack chair,
blown over by the wind at Christmas,
is still on its back,
the snow too deep for me
to traipse out and right it,
the ice too sheer
to risk slamming these old bones
to the ground.
In a hospital bed in her room
where her bed used to be,
and her husband,
my Aunt Millie keeps reaching up
for the far corner of the room,
whispering That is so interesting.
I will go now.
In April
I will walk out
across the warming grass,
and right the chair
as if there had never been anything
to stop me in the first place,
listening for the buzz of hummingbirds
which reminds me of how fast
things are capable of moving.

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 ©2018 by John Stanizzi, "Ascension." Poem reprinted by permission of John Stanizzi. 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.