Monday, 14 June 2021

American Life in Poetry: Tonight

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

This week’s column is by Ladan Osman, who is originally from Somalia but who now lives in Chicago. I like “Tonight” for the way it looks with clear eyes at one of the rough edges of American life, then greets us with a hopeful wave.

Editor’s Note: This column (336) is a reprint from the American Life in Poetry archive as we bid farewell to Ted Kooser, and work to finalize the new website and forthcoming columns curated by Kwame Dawes.

Tonight

Tonight is a drunk man,
his dirty shirt.

There is no couple chatting by the recycling bins,
offering to help me unload my plastics.

There is not even the black and white cat
that balances elegantly on the lip of the dumpster.

There is only the smell of sour breath. Sweat on the collar of my shirt.
A water bottle rolling under a car.
Me in my too-small pajama pants stacking juice jugs on neighbors’ juice jugs.

I look to see if there is someone drinking on their balcony.

I tell myself I will wave.

American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It 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 ©2010 by Ladan Osman, and reprinted by permission of the poet. Introduction copyright @2021 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 2004-2006.

Upcoming Calendar

15Jun
06.15.2021 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Board of Supervisors
15Jun
06.15.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
15Jun
06.15.2021 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Community Visioning Forum Planning Committee
15Jun
06.15.2021 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
16Jun
06.16.2021 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Clearlake Marketing Committee
16Jun
06.16.2021 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Sulphur Bank Superfund Site meeting
19Jun
06.19.2021
Juneteenth
19Jun
06.19.2021 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Clear Lake Shoreline Clean-Up Day
19Jun
06.19.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
20Jun
06.20.2021
Father's Day

Mini Calendar

loader

LCNews

Responsible local journalism on the shores of Clear Lake.

 

Memberships:

 

Newsletter

Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.
Cookies!

lakeconews.com uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.