The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has
been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners.
They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be
human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our
children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as
we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the
shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and
remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing
and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
The Library of Congress announced that poet and musician Joy Harjo will succeed Tracy K. Smith as the 23rd U.S. poet laureate. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Harjo is the first Native American to hold the position. She is the author of multiple poetry collections, including She Had Some Horses (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1983), In Mad Love and War (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton, 1994), A Map to the Next World (W. W. Norton, 2000), and Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W. W. Norton, 2015), as well as the memoir Crazy Brave (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012). W.W. Norton will publish her next collection An American Sunrise later this summer.