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Bad Day

Not every day
is a good day
for the elfin tailor.
Some days
the stolen cloth
reveals what it 
was made for:
a handsome weskit
or the jerkin
of an elfin sailor.
Other days
the tailor
sees a jacket
in his mind
and sets about
to find the fabric.
But some days
neither the idea
nor the material
presents itself;
and these are 
the hard days
for the tailor elf.

—Kay Ryan

From Say Uncle, 2000
Grove/Atlantic, Inc

Copyright 2000 Kay Ryan.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc. Copyright 2000 by Kay Ryan. For further permissions information, contact Mary Flower, Grove/Atlantic Inc., 841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003,

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Kay Ryan (1945- ) served as the U.S Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2012. She is the author of eight poetry collections, including The Best of it: New and Selected Poems (Grove Press, 2010), which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Learn more about Kay Ryan at The Poetry Foundation.