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American Life in Poetry: 'Father and Daughter'

Amanda Strand is a poet living in Maryland. I like this poem for its simplicity, clarity and directness. No frills to decorate it, just the kind of straightforward accounting of an experience that Henry David Thoreau said he looked for in an author.

Father and Daughter


 

The wedding ring I took off myself,

his wife wasn’t up to it.

I brought the nurse into the room

in case he jumped or anything.

“Can we turn his head?

He looks so uncomfortable.”

She looked straight at me,

patiently waiting for it to sink in.





The snow fell.

His truck in the barn,

his boots by the door,

flagpoles empty.

It took a long time for the taxi to come.

“Where to?” he said.

“My father just died,” I said.

As if it were a destination.





American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2014 by Amanda Strand and reprinted by permission of the poet. Introduction copyright © 2015 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 2004-06.



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