'He liked to watch the old houses stir awake'

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Susan Aizenberg lives and teaches in Omaha, and the following poem is from Quiet City, published by BkMk Press. My father, and perhaps yours, too, found a little pleasure in an early morning walk. 


Before the train screamed him through tunnels

to his windowless office, the idiots

he had to "sir," my father needed a space

without us, so in a crack of light from the bathroom,

he dressed, held his shoes by two fingers,

and left us sleeping. That walk


to the diner, the last stars fading out,

the sky lightening from black to blue to white,

was his time. He walked in all weather,

let each season touch him all over,

lifted his face to rain and sun. He liked

to watch the old houses stir awake

and nod to the woman in her slippers on 27th,

smoking as she strolled her little mutt.

To step back, smooth as Fred Astaire,

from the paperboy's wild toss.


Milk bottles sweated on doorsteps,

sweet cream on top, and once, he lifted a quart

from its wire basket, drank it down

beneath our neighbor's winking porch light,

and left the empty on the stoop.


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 2015 by Susan Aizenberg, 'Mornings,' from Quiet City, (BkMk Press, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Susan Aizenberg and the publisher. Introduction copyright 2015 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 2004-06.

◄ Memorandum: Vanessa Gebbie, Cultured Llama

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steve pottinger

Tue 29th Mar 2016 09:51

A beautifully evocative picture of those quiet moments in our lives. Wonderful.

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