Maine’s former poet laureate, Wesley McNair, is one of my favorite writers. Godine has just published a touching book-length memoir, in verse, titled “Dwellers in the House of the Lord.” Though it’s impossible to convey the sweep of a poem of 63 pages, here is a short excerpt to give you some idea of the poem’s open-handed style. At this point, McNair’s sister has separated from Mike, her abusive husband, and the poet’s feelings are mixed, just as many of yours might be, or have been, in such a situation.
From ‘Dwellers in the House of the Lord’
I, too, am confused. I reach out
to the Mike who calls me
Buddy, the Navy name
for friend, and in every secret
phone call, I reach out also
to my sister, bereft and alone.
Poem copyright 2020 by Wesley McNair. From “Dwellers in the House of the Lord,” (David R. Godine, 2020). American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.
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