A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53)

Cover art by Stephen White. Available at http://www.Press53.com, Amazon.com and other Internet outlets, and on order at any bookstore. Thanks so much for your support!

Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of six collections of poetry, including A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53, 2020). Her work has appeared in “American Life in Poetry,” Annals of Internal Medicine, Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness & Connection, How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, JAMA, Latin American Literary Review, Poet’s Market, San Pedro River Review, storySouth, The Christian Century, The Christian Science Monitor, The Poetry Foundation, The Sixty-Four: Best Poets of 2019, The Sun, The Writer’s Almanac, 3rd Wednesday, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and many more. Her awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Atlanta Review International Publication Award, Gold Medal for Poetry in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, Nautilus Silver Book Award, and many others. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and his extensive collection of Loudmouth golf pants!

Great article written by reporter Fran Daniel about my poetry and A Sun Inside My Chest, accompanied by terrific photos by Andrew Dye, in the Winston-Salem Journal, October 4, 2020: https://journalnow.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/local-poet-terri-kirby-erickson-s-sixth-book-of-poetry-to-be-released-by-press/article_d0b3128c-03ec-11eb-90a2-d3570377d662.html

Wonderful article about my poem, “Cadillac Mountain,” in A Sun Inside My Chest, by reporter Dick Broom of the Mount Desert Islander in Bar Harbor, Maine: https://www.mdislander.com/living/poet-inspired-by-cadillac-mountain

Terrific article by reporter Tim Botos of The Repository in Canton, OH, about my poem, “Ode to My Vacuum Cleaner,” from A Sun Inside My Chest: https://www.cantonrep.com/story/news/2020/12/01/terri-kirby-ericksons-ode-my-vacuum-cleaner-recalls-her-hoover/6463454002/

Author’s Note: I’d like to share a poem here that seems to be resonating with a lot of people. I wrote it in response to my own pain in the aftermath of my beloved mother’s death, and how hard it has been, after many decades of her continuous love and support, to lose that beautiful feeling of being “mothered.” What I have finally realized, however, is that whatever our circumstances may be, we must also learn to love, take good care of, and “mother” ourselves. After all, the “self” is the only person in life whom we get to keep…

A Love Poem

by Terri Kirby Erickson, © 2021

I am my mother now,

my sister, my closest

friend. I forgive myself

for everything, cancel

all regret. To whatever

I have to say, I listen.

When trouble comes,

along with pain and

sorrow, I remind myself

of all I have survived—

how brave I am, how

strong. I vow to cherish,

at every age, the body

in which my soul resides.

I eat when I am hungry.

When sleepy-eyed and

weary, I carry myself

as tenderly as a child, to

a place of rest. And when

lost or afraid, I say to my-

self: I will not leave you.

You are safe with me.