Published on Academy of American Poets (


I kept my life in a small room
with pale blue walls
and brought it back
little presents from the world

This is for you I would say
This is for you

Sometimes the gifts
died in my hands
and often I could not pay
the price of their redemption

I could never be sure
they were appreciated or how much
they wanted to be in the place
where I had brought them

The room filled with less and less
space to breathe so instead of gifts
I began to bring stories
that did not end but slipped away
around corners and over horizons

I brought premonitions
and resistance to closure and left
at the end of each day
looking for more


Copyright © 2022 by Kirk Wilson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 6, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

Neruda said the past can be a prison. No doubt he’s right. Traveling backward is dangerous, unless the visitor manages to slip in and out without getting caught. A visitor has the privilege of an outside perspective. As that privileged visitor, I realize that I have always maintained a relationship with my own life. As in any meaningful relationship, responsibilities are established and things are owed. It can be messy, uneasy, and anchoring, and revealing. This poem comes out of it.”
Kirk Wilson


Kirk Wilson

Kirk Wilson is the author of SONGBOX (Trio House Press, 2021), winner of the 2020 Trio Award, as well as the short story collection Out of Season, forthcoming from Elixir Press in 2023. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, he lives in Austin.

Date Published: 2022-04-06

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