Glenna Luschei, who makes her home in California, has traveled the world, and like all good poets has paid attention to what she’s seen. Here’s a fine poem not from Cambodia or Greece but from Tucson, about the belongings some of us leave behind for others to carry ahead. It’s from her book, The Sky Is Shooting Blue Arrows, from University of New Mexico Press.

Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

Comings and Goings

In Tucson

when a university student

goes home

she might leave her desk

and a chair, a bookcase outside her cave

with a sign, “Take me.”

And who could resist

heat radiating over furniture

like a mirage? You hoist

an old Victrola into your pickup

and ratchet up a new song.

You start that life in the West,

invent a past, and when that tune

winds down, it’s okay to put out,

“Take me.”

What do we have in life

but comings and goings?

Poem copyright 2014 by Glenna Luschei, “Comings and Goings,” from The Sky Is Shooting Blue Arrows, (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of Glenna Luschei and the publisher. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of “Poetry” magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.