Poetry and Lights 2022

In Time 
for Hanna


by Laura Apol

After her death, my mother came back 

as an eagle. I saw her often. You saw her too. 

Once, home from college, childhood 

ornaments arranged on the family tree, 

you stood at the window, gazing out 

at the river when  —Look—   a dark shape 

flew close, turned into the wind. 

When the sky went slate-empty again, 

you said, That’s how I’ll always see her 

And you asked, How do you think we’ll see  

Grandpa? And later,


I will see you in everything. 


I knew then that when someday 

I came to you, you would know me 

and it made me glad—the ordinals of loss 

and my sure return, forever, to you. 

I never wondered how you 

might return to me. My daughter, 

now sea turtle, hummingbird, monarch; 

now yellow-eyed heron at the river’s 

edge—rare, and relentlessly still. Look — 

what memory, water. What memory, sky. 


Laura Apol is a poet and professor at Michigan State University. An award-winning author of five full-length collections of poetry (most recently, "A Fine Yellow Dust," winner of the Midwest Book Award), she served as the Lansing-area poet laureate from 2019 to 2021.

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