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Reading “Where I End Up” by Donika Kelly



Poetry Lunch S2E5

 Reading “Where I End Up” by Donika Kelly from The Renunciations, published by Graywolf Press.

Note on pronunciation: I learned after the fact that I am pronouncing Donika's first name incorrectly in this video. The stress is on the second syllable, not the first (Do-NI-ka). Apologies, Donika. Thanks for your stellar poems.


A poem for rainy insides and outsides; for a good sinking in at the season’s turning (here, finally, some chill and wet has arrived).

I feel seen by this poem when I read it, a certain place in me I don’t talk to much or share often, suddenly spoken to. It makes me feel an opening and an allowance for being sad that’s easy to forget. Or think you need to fix.

I love the idea of personal ghosts being faithful and true, and able to choose one day to stay while we ourselves move on. It’s a mysterious process letting go of ghosts and I never thought before about them having agency in it.

Also the doing and done, and the same sun. There’s a desolate kind of beauty here, the kind that keeps going whether you like it or not. I wrote a song for my older brother once that has that same sun in it. I don’t have more words for that except awe at what poetry and music can hold that regular sentences simply cannot.

So again and always, thanks to the poets among us! Specifically to Donika for this poem and to Ellen Bass for bringing it in front of me. And the library for having a copy.


Link to purchase

Get the book here: The Renunciations.