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"Aluminum tumblers— neon-bright, slippery, colder than the liquid inside them—were my first drinking glasses after sippy cups. They were like holding freezing electricity in your hands. Why did they surface fifty-something years later in this erotic dream? The poem doesn’t know, and neither do I, but that is why it’s unpunctuated, which my poems almost never are." —Michael Ryan

My Bright Aluminum Tumblers

Michael Ryan

Who are you
long legged
woman in my dream
kissing me open mouthed
pressing me for ice
we fetch together naked
from the freezer
with bright aluminum tumblers
red deep blue purple
icy water
so cold it hurts
lips and teeth and membrane
lacy lattices of ice
shattering on our tongues
who are you
how could I have forgotten
my bright aluminum tumblers
I had to hold with both hands
they couldn’t be broken
even if I dropped them
that’s how little I was

Copyright © 2013 by Michael Ryan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Michael Ryan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan

Born in 1946, the poet Michael Ryan's works have been selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

by this poet

poem
The rich little kids across the street
twist their swings in knots. Near me,
on the porch, wasps jazz old nesting tunes
and don't get wild over human sweat.
This is the first summer of my middle life.
I ought to be content. The mindless harsh
process of history; with its diverse murders
and starvations, its
poem
My sick heart and my sick soul
I'd gladly fasten in a bag
and drop into an ocean-hole
to float in darkness as a rag.

Would it learn to make its light?
Maybe in a million years.
A million years of constant night
in which it can't stop its fears

flaring their nightmare tentacles
and bioluminescent eyes
as cold
poem
The dead thing mashed into the street
the crows are squabbling over isn't
her, nor are their raucous squawks
the quiet cawing from her throat
those final hours she couldn't speak.
But the racket irks him.
It seems a cruel intrusion into grief
so mute it will never be expressed
no matter how loud or long the