Feb 24 2018
Comments Off on American Life in Poetry #674

American Life in Poetry #674

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

One thing I’ve tried to do with this column is to show off poets who do indeed write about contemporary American life, and who see deep into the ordinary parts of it. Here’s a fine poem by Heid Erdrich, who lives in Minnesota, about doing the laundry. It’s from her book Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media, published by Michigan State University Press.

Laundress

Given over to love,
she un-balls the socks,

lets fall debris of days,
leaf litter, sand grain,

slub of some sticky substance,
picks it all for the sake

of the stainless tub
of the gleaming new front loader.

Given over to love long ago, when her own
exasperated moan bounced off

the quaint speckled enamel
of the top loader

vowing: she’d do this always and well.
She fell in love then, she fell in line—

in a march of millions, you pair them,
two by two, you marry the socks.

American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.

What did you think of this week’s poem? Share with us in the comments!