is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. Or later,
sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn’s bright parade. And I think
of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock.  It is the nature
of stone / to be satisfied /
writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else
, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around
us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain’s
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

All rights reserved.
Reprinted by kind permission of Barbara Crooker from Radiance. © Word Press, 2005.

Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker

About the author

Barbara Crooker is an award-winning poet whose poems have been featured in various media outlets such as the BBC, in magazines, and in numerous anthologies. Her most recent books include Slow Wreckage (Grayson Books, 2024); Some Glad Morning (Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), The Book of Kells (Cascade Books, 2018, winner of the Best Poetry Book 2018 from Poetry by the Sea), and Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017). For more information, visit