poetry 0
Sandra Kohler


In your hospital room
we fall in love again
with the sky, its spring
cloudscape to the west,
its vast expanse,
variation on
the theme of


The small machine
that sends vapor—a
cloud of mist—to
your lungs is a
Outside on
the first days
you are here


the mist is gray,
chill, pervasive,
despite the stabs
of pink dogwood
opening in
the park next to
the hospital, or
the grape hyacinths’
violet interruptions
of greening grass.
You ask me to open
the blinds, you search
for the right light
to photograph
the delicate vase


of daffodils,
species tulip
a friend brings.
At home, in our
neglected garden,
crocus, narcissus,
jonquils open white
or yellow petals,


thrust gold or rose
throats into chilly
air. Amid the chaos,
disintegration of
illness, we hold
on to the art, the
beauty we create,
pervasive mist.

Sandra Kohler’s three collections of poems are Improbable Music (Word Press, 2011), The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) and The Country of Women (Calyx Books, 1995). Her poems have appeared over the past forty-five years in journals including Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, Beloit Poetry Journal, Slant, The Missouri Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Tar River Poetry. In 2018, one of her poems was chosen to be part of Jenny Holzer’s permanent installation at the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia.