Today, I don’t know why,

I chose a different view,

decided not to try

to wholly understand you


or know your darkness now,

decided not to guess

what death is like, to somehow

feel its emptiness.


Today I woke, no need

to empathize, to have

jointness, be agreed,

consider your perspective.


I chose to see today

no vast hole, no absence,

and through the April gray

this small red brilliance.



Elise Hempel has worked as an editor, proofreader, copywriter and university English instructor.  Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Poetry, Measure, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, and Midwest Quarterly, as well as in Poetry Daily and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry.  She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award and the winner of the 2015 Able Muse Write Prize in Poetry, the 2016 String Poet Prize, and the 2017 No Chair Press Chapbook Contest.  Her full-length collection of poems, Second Rain, was published by Able Muse Press in 2016.  

Table of Contents | Next Page