Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why I Subscribe to Poetry Daily

I get one email a week from the Poetry Daily website.  It give me news, some links to various contests and conferences, and a list of which poems will be appearing on what days.  The weekly e-newsletter ends with whatever poem had been featured on the site the year before.  I have to confess that I often don't read any of it.  I tend to look at my email at work, and if there are a lot of work-related notes lurking in the inbox, I feel the need to tidy up by deleting anything not vital.  Still I sometimes glance through it, quickly, to see if there's anything necessary or amazing. A while back I found this poem at the end of their missive. It stopped. me. in. my. tracks. At least enough to email it to myself with a note to share it. But then of course that note got buried under the deluge of daily emails. I just now resurrected it.

Problems with the Dictionary

Shouldn't the distance between impossible
and improbable be widened? Might miracle
deserve its own appendix: the ease with which night
becomes winter? There must be a word for it,
a term unique and apropos to star-pocked sky
and village roads blanketed by snow,
a good-natured—but stone drunk—schoolteacher
leaving a warm bar. It is improbable she will drive.
She does. North of town, wind uncovers ice-sheets.
A drift swarms ditch to ditch and the street
becomes impassible (see also impossible). She cannot
u-turn and begins walking home. She forgets
her headlights and roadside crops go miraculous:
snowed-in corn pastures awash in shadows
from her halogen bulbs. Another driver
would not see her. None come. The night is nothing more
than boot-prints in fresh powder, a wobbly path
tracking to back-patio where she frees the latch
and lets herself in. Her high-beams will burn
to sunrise. Her frozen steps will melt beyond definition.

The poet is Luke Johnson. This appeared in Southwest Review, and then at Poetry Daily. You can find out a lot more info on Luke's website, and by reading that I found out he has a blog, and a first book, which I am going to order for myself right now.

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