Winter 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 1 Poetry |

Bad News

Because it arrives while you sleep, it's the one call you never pick up on the first ring. In that pause between the fourth and what would be the fifth, in the flare of a lamp you've snapped on, there it is, having waited all night until it was time to awaken you, shaping its sentence over and over, simple old words you lean into as into a breath from a cave. And once the news is out, thrown over your shoulders like a threadbare robe, you move on cold feet room to room, feeling as weightless as a soul, turning on every light in the house, needing the light all around you because it's a new day now, though still in darkness hours before dawn, a day you'll learn to call that day, the first morning after it happened.

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Ted Kooser served two terms as poet laureate consultant to the Library of Congress, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his book of poems, Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004.) He is a retired life insurance executive who lives in the country near the village of Garland, Nebraska.

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In November

By Ted Kooser

Because it arrives while you sleep, it's the one call you never pick up on the first ring. In that pause between the fourth and what would be the fifth, […]

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