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

American Life In Poetry


Once, as a young man, I needed a pair of black shoes to wear at a wedding at which I was to be a groomsman and after work one day I was following a truck with a flapping canvas over the open back, when out of it spilled box after box of shoes, and I pulled over to the side, jumped out and grabbed a pair that fit me perfectly. Here's another experience like that, as described by Lucy Adkins, a poet from Nebraska, whose most recent book is One Life Shining. I found this in the Summer 2019 issue of Plainsongs.


He was traveling from Chicago

to Joliet, he said, on the expressway,

Old State Highway 59, when a

semi rollover caused a load of potatoes

to scatter across the road.

People stopped, pulled their

pickups and jeeps, their Chevy vans

and VW bugs off to the shoulder,

got out and dashed across three lanes

of traffic after Idaho russets and

Yukon Golds, reds and whites and yams.

I'd have understood if it were

a Brinks truck with flyaway tens

and twenties. But potatoes?

Perhaps it was the fact of

sudden bounty dropping down

in front of you, and like unexpected

grace, you must be grateful,

whatever it is that is given.

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 Lucy Adkins, "Potatoes," from Plainsongs (Summer 2019). Poem reprinted by permission of Lucy Adkins and the publisher.


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