By Ann Keniston
Featured Art: The Letter by Alice Pike Barney
All I could do was think of her face.
Or not think of it, the way
after receiving her letter I felt
relief, gratitude, and then
lost the actual note she wrote,
the tiny, lovely photograph
of her children I’d vowed to cherish.
And then I saw: my grief was
the objective correlative, a hook
on which I could hang all the scraps
of whatever other sadnesses
I was more frightened of. And the grief,
like a person, like her in her solicitude,
almost prevented me from seeing this
Ann Keniston is a poet-scholar interested in the relation of the creative to the scholarly. She is the author of several poetry collections, including the 2020 poetry collection Somatic (Terrapin), coeditor of The New American Poetry of Engagement: A 21st Century Anthology (McFarland 2012), and several scholarly studies of contemporary poetry. Her poems have appeared in over thirty journals, including Yale Review, Gettysburg Review, Water-Stone, and Literary Imagination. A professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she teaches poetry workshops and literature classes, she lives in Reno.
Originally published in NOR 6