American Life in Poetry: Column 728


Pauletta Hansel lives in Cincinnati, and today's poem is from her book Palindrome, from Dos Madres Press in Loveland, Ohio. It's a collection of poems about her mother's dementia, and although there have been many individual poems about that subject, by many poets, I know of no other book by just one poet that so completely and artfully sums up the emotions associated with that painful deterioration.

The View from There

Where in the world
does my mother go, eyes
shut so tight her lower lashes
curl in toward a view
that's hers alone?
Yesterday she told
me—after the rains, the winds
came, and this morning
that's what they do.

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 ©2017 by Pauletta Hansel, "The View from There," from Palindrome, (Dos Madres Press, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Pauletta Hansel 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.