Poem of the Week, by Jay Hopler

A few days ago a friend was running in the canyons when he found a hiker lying on the trail, unmoving and unresponsive. He called 911 and gave him CPR until the medics arrived and took over, but the hiker died there, on a warm, sunny day filled with the scent of coastal sage, the sea glinting in the distance.

The ending of this gorgeous poem, which shocked but also thrilled me when I first read it, made me think I shouldn’t send it out, not in this ongoing pandemic. But I changed my mind. Love and the memory of it are what I hope for myself and for everyone in the world, in the end that will come for all of us.

love & the memory of it, by Jay Hopler

spook not at the shook world w/ all its viruses and murder hornets
instead that summer evening call to mind when you drove alone
               over iowa
the light in the fields how long it was how in love you were w/ it
& the air & the world & that girl that atomic girl you would one
               day marry
or call to mind a summer evening half a life from then & the park
               by the river the way her laughter
echoed off the rocks
in sparks that sighed
into the water

it was she that lit the world just then
& not that ember of a sun
her light like a struck string fretting its zing against the pic-
nic tables

may that be the music you hear
when they unplug the ventilator

For more information about Jay Hopler, please click here.

Words by Winter: my podcas

One comment

  1. yepearson · January 15, 2022

    Amazing, amazing poem. I’m glad you posted it. Particularly powerful in the midst of this pandemic. Even surprisingly comforting.


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