Tracy K. Smith won the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, “Life on Mars,” from which I’ve selected this week’s poem, which presents a payday in the way many of us at some time have experienced it. The poet lives in Brooklyn, New York.
The Good Life
When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.
Poem copyright ©2011 by Tracy K. Smith from her most recent book of poems, “Life on Mars,” Graywolf Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Tracy K. Smith and the publisher.