Nebraska's Ted Kooser, U.S. poet laureate from 2004-06, offers "American Life in Poetry," a column on contemporary poetry.

After my mother died, her best friend told me that they were so close that they could sit together in a room for an hour and neither felt she had to say a word. Here's a fine poem by Dorianne Laux, about that kind of silence. Her most recent book is "The Book of Men" (W.W. Norton & Co., 2012), and she lives in North Carolina.

Enough Music

Sometimes, when we're on a long drive, and we've talked enough and listened to enough music and stopped twice, once to eat, once to see the view, we fall into this rhythm of silence. It swings back and forth between us like a rope over a lake. Maybe it's what we don't say that saves us.

Poem copyright ©1994 by Dorianne Laux from "What We Carry," BOA Editions, 1994. Poem reprinted by permission of Dorianne Laux and the publisher.

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