Poem of the Week

The Reprieve

Lee Upton

March grew
until the underworld was endless.
Sometimes after work I walked
to the dollar store.
I gave myself a budget: $2.
One day I bought saltshakers
shaped like a Dutch Boy and Girl.
On the way back to my apartment
where I lived above a man with a dying dog
I walked past a magnolia—
buds like litter in the tree.
And then a thought I’d never thought
occurred to me:
As long as I live I will never wear wooden shoes.
And that was the moment when
I felt again the stirrings
of friendliness toward my life.

Lee Upton is a poet whose books include Visitations: Stories. Her seventh book of poetry, The Day Every Day Is, won the 2021 Saturnalia Prize.
Originally published:
July 20, 2022

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