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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 3, 2016.
About this Poem 

“We like to think of help as something quicker and more robust than these comical emergency services. But look: they help anyway.”
—Kay Ryan

Emergency Vehicles

Emergency vehicles
are on the way but
slow ones. You will
have to go on for
some time. Well, years.
Then one day they will
suddenly arrive
and show you your
chest, which is
neatly packed with
something, you see.
You thank them,
having feared you
would be lost.

Copyright © 2016 by Kay Ryan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 3, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Kay Ryan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 3, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan

The author of several collections of poetry, Kay Ryan has served as both a Poet Laureate for the Library of Congress and a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

poem
Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant 
ranges and 
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest 
relish by
natives in their 
native dress.
Who would 
have guessed
it possible 
that waiting
is sustainable—
a place with 
its own harvests.
Or that in 
time's fullness
the
poem
To the dragon
any loss is
total. His rest 
is disrupted
if a single 
jewel encrusted
goblet has
been stolen.
The circle
of himself
in the nest
of his gold
has been
broken.  No
loss is token.
poem
Everything contains some
silence. Noise gets
its zest from the
small shark's-tooth-
shaped fragments
of rest angled
in it. An hour
of city holds maybe
a minute of these
remnants of a time
when silence reigned,
compact and dangerous
as a shark. Sometimes
a bit of a tail
or fin can still
be sensed in parks.