The Outsiders

Today, in continued celebration of National Poetry Month, I’m going to share my poem “The Outsiders” here on the blog. This one has a decent bit of history to it. It won 1st place in the Grayson/Logan Prize by the Poetry Society of Texas in 2013 and was subsequently published in their annual prize anthology A Book of the Year.

Then, last year, it was in Merging Visions, the local annual art/poetry collaborative exhibit I participate in. It was accompanied by a really lovely watercolor by Carol Rowley called “Farmhouse at Dusk,” and also published in the catalog of that exhibit called Collections V.

And last but certainly not least, in one of my gutsier moments, I sent it along with a letter and a second poem to Billy Collins. (A line from one of Collins’s poems appears as an epigraph for “The Outsiders.”) Imagine my surprise and delight when he actually took the time to write me back — and even complimented my poem! He said, “I like the mouse-centric one a lot.” You know, it’s not a bad day when Billy Collins says he likes one of your poems a lot. 🙂

Well, I think it’s safe to say that this little poem has had all the thrill it can take, so I’m reprinting here today for you to read. I hope you enjoy!


The Outsiders

“I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out…”

–Billy Collins

From the shed,
the back windows
of our house
glow the warmest yellow,
and I pause,
I don’t remember
ever appreciating
while inside.
As I settle my tools
against the wall,
close the squeaky door,
and crunch across the grass,
I wonder
if this
is what goes through
the tiny hearts and minds
of the shed mice
who live here –
always outside,
looking in.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2011.

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