Archives For At Forty

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The Poetry Foundation featured “The Birth of Superstition,” from The Nomenclature of Small Things*, as Poem of the Day today. Three other poems went up this week on the Poetry Foundation site as well! Honored and glad to have these up as searchable resources for poetry readers, teachers, and students.

At Forty
The Birth of Superstition
A Brief History of the Passenger Pigeon
How to Move Away

The link to the Poetry Foundation.

*Note that books have temporarily sold out on but are available through Carnegie Mellon at this link: Nomenclature of Small Things

The Birth of Superstition

It’s not hard to imagine: my ancestor—a dry season,
               dust like chalk on her tongue—mixes
                              spit with clay,
traces a river on rock. Next day: rain.
                                                                           Why shouldn’t she believe
               in the power of rock and her own hand?
I carry this need for pattern and rule, to see connections
               where there aren’t necessarily any.
                                                            After my first miscarriage,
I cut out soda, cold cuts.
               After the second, vacuuming and air travel.
After the third—it’s chalk and spit again. I circle rocks,
               swim the icy river.
                                             And when my son is born, he balances
the chemical equation that is this world.
                                                                                          And logic?
Logic is my son’s kite, good so long as you have
               wind, string,
                                             something heavier than hope
                                                                                          to tether you.
Lynn Pedersen, “The Birth of Superstition” from The Nomenclature of Small Things.  Copyright © 2016 by Lynn Pedersen.  Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: The Nomenclature of Small Things (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)