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Poem of the Week: September 24, 2018

Hello readers! Every week, BOA's staff and interns share one of our favorite poems from our over 300 collections of poetry. This week's poem is from Clues from the Animal Kingdom by Christopher Kennedy.

Small Hope Factory

We were always the hopeful ones, thrilled to find a cigarette still
burning in the grass. It felt good to have a pocket full of change
and nowhere to go. I found a coupon for get one free of something.
It didn’t matter what. Payday was magical and came once a week,
like church. The world was a poignant and miraculous place. A job,
any job, was good and life-affirming.

My family was a factory of small hopes. I dreamed I found a pile
of quarters in the neighbor’s grass and brought them to my grateful
mother. When I woke up, I had the feeling I could be anything I
wanted to be. First light was shining through the venetian blinds.
I heard Elvis singing “Hound Dog.” I started singing along. I
couldn’t wait until we all sat down for breakfast, so I could spoon
some sugar from the white bowl on my cereal. There was talk of
a new car. Someday, maybe. I thought if I started to run, I could
run around the world.

I saw my father in the yard. I grabbed my glove and took off the
rubber band. The pocket was deep and dark where I rubbed in the
neatsfoot oil. Let’s play catch, I said. I was running faster than ever
in my PF Flyers. Let’s play catch, I said, nearly singing it, and my
father turned and said, Let’s not and say we did.

Clues from the Animal Kingdom is now on sale from booksellers nationwide. Buy a copy today from the BOA Bookstore.


1 comment


  • Brilliant poem! Escalating expectations followed by poignant coud de grace at finale! Live it. (Burgess Needle author of Every Crow In the Blue Sky).

    Burgess Needle on

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