The Paris Review

Poetry Rx: This Gloom is Someone Else’s

In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Sarah Kay is on the line.

© Ellis Rosen

Dear Poets,

My birthday is coming. It’s not a “big” one—not twenty-one or fifty or a hundred or any other special number—just a regular number in the middle. Honestly, there’s no particular reason I should feel this year is so much more painful than others, but I do. I’m not sure I can describe the feeling—it’s not something to wear purple for, per se. It’s more of a lost feeling: How did I get old? This body is mine and yet surely must also be someone else’s. I want to age gracefully and, most of all, I do not want to become invisible—to myself or anyone else. And I could use some encouragement, a vote of confidence, to know that this is possible. Is there a poem that could help?

Sincerely,
Me

Dear Me,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: What You Usually Find in Novels
Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Re
The Paris Review3 min read
The Man Who Eats Glass
Photo: Frank Vincentz (CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)). Via Wikimedia Commons. From inside a circle made of shards of glass in front of Porto Alegre’s Public Market, a scrawny man, little more than a twig of skin, fired
The Paris Review4 min read
Harold Bloom’s Immortality
Harold Bloom (Yale University Press) The last email I got from Harold came in on October 8 at 4:08 P.M., eight days ago. It said: Dear Lucas, I am trying to cut the size of the book. This is the new table of contents. Love, Harold Table of Contents