After it was clear that she was gone, my sister Wanda rose from the floor where she’d been sitting— we’d all gone from standing or huddling there on the rug around her bed; perhaps we had fallen to our knees in unconscious obedience to the largesse that had claimed our mother, the invisible power she had joined— and crawled into bed beside her, nestling next to her under the covers just as we’d all done when we were children.
—Tracy K. Smith, From Ordinary Light


Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
This begins with a literal end of life. When the children stand/huddle/fall around their mother’s bed their moving bodies signal loss and grief. With the entrance of “largesse” and “invisible power” they seem to find if not comfort than some form of submission to a higher state or power beyond us: Is it death, eternity, the afterlife? They become strangely “obedient.” The hypnotic regularity of clause on clause rhythm generates a kind of submissive obedience in the reader too: We nod along, we feel intimately close, we are perhaps in bed with this mother and her children. —JP Howard is the author of SAY/MIRROR and curator of Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon