Some of My Favorite People Are Aunts

June 13, 2012

I only have two aunts, but they are both special members of the family. This poem, by Joyce Sutphen of Minnesota, captures for me the warm, loving feelings the word “aunt” brings to mind.

The Aunts
I like it when they get together
and talk in voices that sound
like apple trees and grape vines,

and some of them wear hats 
and go to Arizona in the winter,
and they all like to play cards.

They will always be the ones
who say “It is time to go now,”
even as we linger at the door,

or stand by the waiting cars, they
remember someone—an uncle we
never knew—and sigh, all

of them together, like wind
in the oak trees behind the farm
where they grew up—a place

I remember—especially
the hen house and the soft
clucking that filled the sunlit yard.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine.  It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Poem copyright ©2010 by Joyce Sutphen from her most recent book of poetry, “First Words,” Red Dragonfly Press, 2010.  Poem reprinted by permission of Joyce Sutphen and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2011 by The Poetry Foundation.

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  1. Ahh, this poem brought so many visual and tactile impressions to my mind. The card playing, the sighs over remembrances, the leaving mannerisms...just substitute my grandmother's garden and the fenced horse pasture for the hen house and I'm there...

  2. This poem really brought back memories of my mom's sister in particular. The photo I chose is from their childhood home, where my mom now lives.

  3. This is a spot on poem, Kathy! I love all of my aunties; they are indeed very, very special people and it IS fun when we all get together.

    Kathy M.

  4. My mother and her sister are twins, so it's almost like I have a second mother. They are very alike, and very different, and I love them both dearly!

  5. Kathy, that poem brought tears to my eyes, remembering my four dear aunts, all gone now, but in my heart forever.

  6. Jean--There really is something special about an aunt, isn't there? They stay with us even when they're gone.