American Life in Poetry: After Her Mother Passed

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Here is an elegant flower of a poem — small, delicate in sentiment, and yet so resonant in meaning.

Sam Dodson, in a few short lines, observes the stoic strength of faith, the sadness of loss, and the rituals that we perform to help us cope with the helplessness that comes with grief.

After Her Mother Passed
By Sam Dodson

Lutheran beautiful Eva
broke down for a
dear, dear moment
before she picked
that rake back up
and moved maple
leaves over grass.

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 ©2021 by Sam Dodson, “After Her Mother Passed” from Big Life, (Black Mountain Press, 2021). Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.