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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
The chickens
are circling and
blotting out the 
day. The sun is 
bright, but the 
chickens are in 
the way. Yes,
the sky is dark
with chickens, 
dense with them.
They turn and 
then they turn 
again. These 
are the chickens
you let loose
one at a time
and small—
various breeds.
Now they have 
come home
to roost—
2
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
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