Poetry October 2011

Woman by the Way

I passed a woman on my way to work.
She didn’t notice me, or so I thought.
She was in her garden clipping flowers.
Her hair was braided, dirty blond.
She wore a nightdress that was pink and white.
I guessed that she was nineteen, maybe twenty.

But my guess was wrong. I met her
later when a cinder hit my eye.
She was a doctor. You will be okay,
she said to me with such a weight of knowledge
I was quite relieved. I went home giddily
and late that night went out to water
all the little flowers along my path.

Presented by

Jay Parini’s recent books include The Passages of H.M.: A Novel of Herman Melville (2010) and The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems (2005). He teaches at Middlebury College.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In