Poem: Crisis and Sifting

If you’d like to listen to me reading the following poem, click here.

On Learning That the Words “Crisis” and “Sift” are Related

I picture my mother’s hands and the silver, mesh sieve.

She was not a meticulous cook, but occasionally
she took the time to sift flour.
Big lumps remained, could not pass through.
That’s the point, she told me.
Only that which is willing to be broken down
gets through.

Heartbreak, infection, isolation: they sift us.

What matters

On a walk, I see a neighbor
Hungry to hear each other speak, we discuss books
at a six-foot distance.
In the afternoons, I drive out to see birch trees,
fields in thaw, and ice breaking up in the harbor.
The gulls have returned.
Our children call.
While my husband reads the recipe to me, I mix scones.
We laugh when the blueberries spill.
I memorize Psalms. He plays guitar. I read.

What does not matter does not make it through.



5 thoughts on “Poem: Crisis and Sifting

  1. Good morning Ann and David. Thank you for sharing your poem. Traveling down memory lane brings comfort during these challenging times. As social animals social distance is not easy. Ever the optimists, we look forward to face to face socialization. Happy Thursday Tim and Sue


  2. Among the very fine, this is your finest yet. And I can see your mother’s arms and hands sift, and hear her voice speak. She may not have sifted often, but she sifted well.. Pie crusts. Red chair for the cabin table. Brachiopods. Your diamond of a dad. Thank you for your words.


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