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April is the Coolest Month – Just Poets Favorite Poem for April 18

As part of National Poetry Month, Just Poets members will share their favorite poems along with a brief note about why the poem is their favorite poem. Today’s poem is selected by Colleen Powderly.

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Susan Yuzna

North Avenue East
   for my son

Opening the front door of this cottagelike house
to find the sky full of stars and clouds streaming by
startles me every time, like falling in love,
when suddenly you see how deep and wide 

the man is. A day of snow melting in Minnesota,
an occasion for checking the oil. Glancing up from under
the hood of my old Thunderbird, I saw in the green
eyes of your future father, a passion strong as you have become:

balanced astride his bake, there on the sidewalk
in front of his house, like an apparition, electrifying. How can I
explain? I see him as if through water now. What catches your breath
is the swiftness, becoming a stranger to what you knew

as the natural order. The night you were born, the world
was reduced to the metal buckle of your father’s belt.
I could endure the pain only by hanging on to what I knew.
Eye level, the belt loop of his jeans, as the current swept me

toward oblivion. I understood no words until he repeated
what the doctor said, what the nurse said. Now the words
lie deep within the blue spruce that looms from our neighbor’s
yard. You tell me you remember watching us bend

toward each other and kiss, one Fourth of July,
as fireworks over the Mississippi flared
in the window behind us. What else
can we do, against the black window, but shine?

****

Just Poets Member Statement:

This poem shows everyday people living in real time and contains psychological truth. It reminds me to tell the truth, that craft will serve it.

– Colleen Powderly

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“North Avenue East” appears in Her Slender Dress, which is available by clicking here.

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