How It Is by Wyatt Townley

The sun drags worlds behind itWyatt-Townley-Headshot-color

planets at its ankles

it hauls you out of bed

into the kitchen where

spoon by spoon the sun

draws itself through your body

this goes on and on one foot

after another through the usual rooms

while stars are dropping off the map

the sun drags the pen across the page

and out the sides of your eyes

the sky spins your tears

into a poem that falls back

on graves of lovers

and gardens of strangers

the sun without fail

pulls the coat of loneliness over your arms

as you walk in your own footprints

until you reach the place

where we can read these words together

~ Wyatt Townley

from The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley Press)

Wyatt Townley is the fourth Poet Laureate of Kansas. Her work has been read by Garrison Keillor on NPR, featured in Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, and published in journals including The Paris Review, North American Review, and The Yale Review. She has published three books of poems, most recently The Afterlives of Trees, a Kansas Notable Book and winner of the Nelson Award. The confluence of poetry and poetry-in-motion has shaped Wyatt’s life. (

Double Trouble for Poetry Month: During Poetry Month, we are featuring a poem weekly from each of Kansas’s poets laureate in addition to our weekly poems.


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