A Poem From The Year


"Cleaning Out Your Apartment" by Elizabeth Alexander:

A fifty-year-old resume
that says you raised delphiniums.
Health through vegetable Juice,
your book of common prayer,

your bureau, bed, your easy chair,
dry Chivas bottles, mop and broom,
pajamas on the drying rack,
your shoe-trees, shoe-shine box.

I keep your wicker sewing kit,
your balsa cufflink box. There’s
only my framed photograph to say,
you were my grandfather.

Outside, flowers everywhere,
The bus stop, santeria shop.
Red and blue, violent lavender.
Impatiens, impermanent, swarm.

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(From Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 © 2011 by Elizabeth Alexander. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press. Photo by Flickr user puuikibeach)