O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

American Life In Poetry

 

April 16, 2020

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. Here's a poem by Jared Carter from his new book, The Land Itself, from Monongahela Press. This is a fine example of how a talented poet can make a gift for us from the most ordinary subject. Carter lives in Indianapolis. His Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, is published by the University of Nebraska Press in a series I edit for them.

Changing the Front Porch Light for Thanksgiving

To balance there, again, in the early dark,

three rungs up on the old stepladder,

afraid to go any higher, it wobbles so-

to reach out and find the first set-screw

stripped of its thread, barely holding the lip

in place-to stretch even farther, twisting

the next one to break the rust, turning

the last with the tips of your fingers until

the white globe drops down smooth and round

in your hands, and you see inside a pool

of intermingled wings and bodies, so dry

it stirs beneath your breath. To watch them

flutter, again, across the grass, when you

climb down and shake them out in the wind.

We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2019 by Jared Carter, "Changing the Front Porch Light for Thanksgiving," from The Land Itself, Monongahela Press, 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Jared Carter and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2020 by The Poetry Foundation.

 

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