Nicholas Samaras


La Chambre à Arles by Vincent van Gogh

Yes, then—habit is often what one doesn’t realise.

My father brought me home from juvenile court
and the adoption judge, and said, this is your room,
this is our home key, this is where you’ll never be beaten.

In the days that followed, I said
sorry for making noise while eating.

I said, sorry for wanting to watch television,
sorry for asking a question,
sorry for bothering you.

My father asked me to stop apologising
for everything.

I said, I’m sorry for apologising.

I never realised I did that.

I was just so used to being
sorry for being alive.

He said we’ll work on that.


About the writer:
Nicholas Samaras’s first book, HANDS OF THE SADDLEMAKER, won The Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His next book, AMERICAN PSALM, WORLD PSALM, came out (2014) from Ashland Poetry Press. Individual poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Poetry, New York Times.

Image: La Chambre à Arles by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Oil on canvas. 22.2 x 29.1 inches. 1889 (disputed). Public domain.