Barbara Crooker


Late fall, but the sun's still warm, streams
in from the west like honey. My hands curl
around a mug of tea, and it feels like a benediction,
a reprieve from my crazy life: bringing my mother
from one doctor to the other, as systems shut down,
doors start to close; going to interviews
with my disabled son to find, in the end,
that promised programs aren't funded,
and when school ends in June, that's it, so long.
But today, there's this—the happiness that comes
from working again, even though rejections
fill my mailbox, thicker than snowflakes.
I know winter's waiting; I've felt its breath
on the back of the wind. This is a bit of respite
before the storms roll in. I lean against this willow,
let the sun soak all the way to the bones. These blue
mountains cup me in their hands. This lucent afternoon
and a spigot of birdsong fill my bowl to the brim.


Barbara Crooker is the author of four books of poetry, Radiance, which won the Press First Book Award and was a finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, Line Dance, which won the Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, More , and most recently Gold. Her work can be found at . Crooker is the mother of a 30 year old son with autism.