Maxine Kumin (1925 – 2014)



Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief

by Maxine Kumin



Blue landing lights make

nail holes in the dark.

A fine snow falls.

We sit

on the tarmac taking on

the mail, quick freight,

trays of laboratory mice,

coffee and Danish

for the passengers.


Wherever we’re going

is Monday morning.

Wherever we’re coming from

is Mother’s lap.

On the cloud-pack above, strewn

as loosely as parsnip

or celery seeds, lie

the souls of the unborn:


my children’s children’s

children and their father.

We gather speed for the last run

and lift off into the weather.


“Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief,” Maxine Kumin: Selected Poems, 1960-1990 (W.W. Norton, 1997) You can listen to a reading of this poem through The Poetry Foundation here.