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?


Dear Me,

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