Published on Academy of American Poets (

Some Kinds of Forever Visit You

The unknowns are up early;
they browse through the bronze
             porch bells.  Crows
             call & late
         apples blaze
      toward western emptiness.
         In your illness,
             the edges hesitate;
    like the revolt
of workers, they
              will take a while…

Here comes the fond
     mild winter; other
         realms are noisy
        & unanimous. You tap
the screen & dream
       while waiting; four
            kinds of forever
      visit you today: 
something, nothing,
everything & art,
   greater than you are
          & of your making—


Copyright © 2016 by Brenda Hillman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“The poem is an address to friends who are experiencing chronic illnesses right now. I’ve been making this sort of structured writing allude to political, ecological, psychological, and aesthetic experiences that can be held in common. The unknown can be aesthetic even when it is accompanied by dire fact.”
—Brenda Hillman


Brenda Hillman

Brenda Hillman is the author of ten poetry collections, including In a Few Minutes Until Later (Wesleyan University Press, 2022) and Extra Hidden Life, among the Days (Wesleyan University Press, 2018). She received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship in 2012 and currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2016-04-18

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