Kooser: 'American Life in Poetry' (Nov. 17) - Omaha.com
Published Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 9:52 am
Kooser: 'American Life in Poetry' (Nov. 17)

Most of us will never touch a Klansman's robe, or want to touch one. Rachel Richardson, who lives in North Carolina, here touches one for us, so that none of us will ever have to.

Relic

The first time I touched it,
cloth fell under my fingers,
the frail white folds
softened, demure. No burn,

no combustion at the touch of skin.
It sat, silent, like any other contents
of any other box: photographs
of the dead, heirloom jewels.

Exposed to thin windowlight it is
exactly as in movies:
a long gown, and where a chest
must have breathed, a red cross

crossed over. The crown, I know,
waits underneath, the hood with eyes
carefully stitched open, arch cap
like a bishop's, surging to its point.

Poem copyright 2011 by Rachel Richardson from her most recent book of poems, “Copperhead,” Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2011. Poem reprinted by permission of Rachel Richardson and the publisher.

6 tips for preventing pink eye
Ladies Home Journal ceasing subscription service
Learn about the weather at momaha’s story time Friday
Archives: So many wonderful old Omaha photos
Quilt created by Karen refugees in Lincoln showcases memories of homeland, dreams for future
Annie, I ditched my sister and, for some reason, she's mad at me
Review: Many winners in premiere of artists’ battle tale
'Ramona' rings true for actor, drama teacher
Big weekend ahead for Nebraska Wind Symphony
One father's tale of overcoming infertility
Annie, My 12-year-old grandson insists on sleeping with Grammie
Omaha woman, 30, battling breast cancer for third time
For World Book Night, some Omahans prepare to hand out free reads
Earth Day: A change in habits can help the planet
‘Wonder Bread Years’: Tickets on sale now for salute to baby boomer generation
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium going greener
Annie Mailbox: My daughter will quit smoking if I lose weight
Win a Mommy Makeover!
Why two hotshots ditched six-figure salaries for a life of less
Jeff Corwin hopes to build connection with nature at Nebraska Science Festival
Annie, when that girl's hitting the bottle, look out
Blair High senior shows his love of pi by memorizing 1,381 digits
Jon Stewart might be real king of late night
'Tis soon Talk Like Shakespeare Day; hence be mirthful!
Can't find your pet? Social media is there to help
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
FROM THE BLOGS »
Jump to a blog:
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
We Love Weddings blog
W.E. Love Weddings is about everything Omaha and everything weddings by the editors of Wedding Essentials Magazine.
Weddings and engagements
Share your exciting news with your community by placing an announcement today.
Inspired Home Omaha magazine
Sign up today to get the latest edition of Omaha's best magazine for local living, home entertainment, fashion and travel!
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »