Published on Academy of American Poets (


The night you were conceived
we balanced underneath a tent,

amazed at the air-marveler,
who, hand-over-hand, seized the stars,

then braved the line to carry home
a big-top souvenir umbrella.

Earth-bound a year, you dare
gravity, sliding from the couch

to table. Mornings, on tiptoe, 
stretching fingers, you grab 

Saturn, Venus and the moons 
raining down from the sky of ceiling.


Copyright © 2010 by Elise Paschen. Used with permission of the author.


Elise Paschen

Elise Paschen is the author of four poetry collections, most recently The Nightlife (Red Hen Press, 2017). She teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. An enrolled member of the Osage Nation, Paschen lives in Chicago.

Date Published: 2010-12-15

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