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This poem by Stella Nesanovich, who lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana, appeared in a recent issue of Third Wednesday, a literary journal. At this time of great national division it's good to see a few people in a tire shop, coming together to share their common humanity. Her most recent book is Colors of the River: Poems, from Yellow Flag Press.


It can happen like that:

meeting at the market,

buying tires amid the smell

of rubber, the grating sound

of jack hammers and drills,

anywhere we share stories,

and grace flows between us.


The tire center waiting room

becomes a healing place

as one speaks of her husband's

heart valve replacement, bedsores

from complications. A man

speaks of multiple surgeries,

notes his false appearance

as strong and healthy.


I share my sister's death

from breast cancer, her

youngest only seven.

A woman rises, gives

her name, Mrs. Henry,

then takes my hand.

Suddenly an ordinary day

becomes holy ground.

We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Stella Nesanovich, “Everyday Grace,” from Third Wednesday, (Vol. IX, No. 4, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Stella Nesanovich and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

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