Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry June 16, 2013

Here's a poem by Robin Chapman, from Wisconsin, that needs no introduction — because we've all known an elderly person who's much like this one.

Time

My neighbor, 87, rings the doorbell to ask

if I might have seen her clipping shears

that went missing a decade ago,

with a little red paint on their shaft,

or the iron turkey bank and the porcelain

coffee cup that disappeared a while back

when her friend, now dead, called the police

to break in to see if she were ill, and have we

had trouble with our phone line, hers

is dead and her car and driver's license

are missing though she can drive perfectly

well, just memory problems, and her son

is coming this morning to take her up

to Sheboygan, where she was born

and where the family has its burial lots,

to wait on assisted living space, and she

just wanted to say we'd been good neighbors

all these how many? years, and how lucky

I am to have found such a nice man

and could she borrow a screwdriver,

the door lock to her house is jammed.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright 2012 by Robin Chapman, whose most recent book of poems is "the eelgrass meadow" (Tebot Bach, 2011). Poem reprinted from the Alaska Quarterly Review, Volume 28, nos. 1&2 (Spring/Summer 2011) by permission of Chapman and the publisher. Introduction copyright 2013 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 to '06. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Topics (1):Books

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments