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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Our National Treasure

Kay Ryan




Kay Ryan
 was appointed to the Library of Congress as the sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in 2008. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and other periodicals. Ryan is also the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches at the College of Marin.


                       Photo by Christina Koci Hernandez


The Edges of Time

 

It is at the edges

that time thins.

Time which had been

dense and viscous

as amber suspending

intentions like bees

unseizes them. A

humming begins,

apparently coming

from stacks of

put-off things or

just in back. A

racket of claims now,

as time flattens. A

glittering fan of things

competing to happen,

brilliant and urgent

as fish when seas

retreat.

 

                 ―Kay Ryan




Relief

 

We know it is close

to something lofty.

Simply getting over being sick

or finding lost property

has in it the leap,

the purge, the quick humility

of witnessing a birth—

how love seeps up

and retakes the earth.

There is a dreamy

wading feeling to your walk

inside the current

of restored riches,

clocks set back,

disasters averted.

 

                   ―Kay Ryan



Home to Roost

 

The chickens

are circling and

blotting out the

day. The sun is

bright, but the

chickens are in

the way. Yes,

the sky is dark

with chickens,

dense with them.

They turn and

then they turn

again. These

are the chickens

you let loose

one at a time

and small—

various breeds.

Now they have

come home

to roost—all

the same kind

at the same speed.

 

                  ―Kay Ryan



Relief,"  "The Edges of Time," and "Home to Roost”from The Best of It ©2010 by Kay Ryan, reprinted

with the permission of the publisher, Grove Atlantic, Inc.