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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 18, 2016.
About this Poem 

“The poem is an address to friends who are experiencing chronic illnesses right now. I’ve been making this sort of structured writing allude to political, ecological, psychological, and aesthetic experiences that can be held in common. The unknown can be aesthetic even when it is accompanied by dire fact.”
—Brenda Hillman

Some Kinds of Forever Visit You

The unknowns are up early;
they browse through the bronze
             porch bells.  Crows
             call & late
         apples blaze
      toward western emptiness.
         In your illness,
             the edges hesitate;
    like the revolt
of workers, they
              will take a while…

Here comes the fond
     mild winter; other
         realms are noisy
        & unanimous. You tap
the screen & dream
       while waiting; four
            kinds of forever
      visit you today: 
something, nothing,
everything & art,
   greater than you are
          & of your making—
 

Copyright © 2016 by Brenda Hillman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Brenda Hillman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Brenda Hillman

Brenda Hillman

Brenda Hillman is the author of ten poetry collections, including Extra Hidden Life, among the Days (Wesleyan University Press, 2018). She received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship in 2012 and currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

poem

i.

    —& humans walked to the edge of the sand
  through a bank of verbena & fog;  
     they thought they’d never get over
the deaths, but they were starting to. Worry
     about money rested in their phones. Talk of
 candidates had stalled. Some sang. Grays of

   

poem

Turns out bacteria communicate in color.
     They warn each other in teal
  or celadon & humans assign
meaning to this, saying they are distressed
      or full of longing. The wood rat
    makes a nest of H’s; it hoards
the seven tiny silences. Crows in the pine
can count

poem

  —i pull the hate
on a rope ladder to the resting zone…
               H
                   H
                       H
    pull the A on down.
A
     A
          A
           Put that sick A to bed. Get well, A. Pinched
           fire. Bring the T down now