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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
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
As though
the river were
a floor, we position
our table and chairs
upon it, eat, and 
have conversation.
As it moves along,
we notice—as
calmly as though
dining room paintings 
were being replaced—
the changing scenes 
along the shore. We
do know, we do 
know this is the
Niagara River, but 
it is hard to
2
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.