Your fridge died last week. The light
still came on when you opened the door,
like a doll sticking out her yellow tongue,
but the jar of pickle spears, the oat milk
in its blue cardboard house, the yogurt
were warm as an average day in Santa Monica.
A couple hundred dollars of provisions
down the figurative drain. A new fridge,
a vertical morgue with shelves, was ordered
and set to be delivered from the truck’s womb,
when wait—the dead fridge came back to life.
The Jesus Fridge. The dead food healthy again.
This phrase was funny to you last week.
The collision of the mundane and mechanical
with the long-haired and sanctimonious.
But it’s not funny today. The world has changed.
This is a George Floyd moment for both Israelis
and Palestinians. Actually scratch that.
It’s a George Floyd moment for both Americans
who sympathize with Israel and Americans
who sympathize with Palestinians. It’s a holy fuck
moment for anyone who cares about human life. 
Upstairs the bathtub is filling with blood.
How big would the swimming pool have to be
to hold all the red salty stuff spilled the last week?
Who will recline in the fresh blood bath?
What swimmers will adjust their goggles
and freestyle the miles of blood?

Copyright © 2024 by Jeffrey McDaniel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 29, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

O water, voice of my heart, crying in the sand,
All night long crying with a mournful cry,
As I lie and listen, and cannot understand
The voice of my heart in my side or the voice of the sea,
O water, crying for rest, is it I, is it I?
All night long the water is crying to me.

Unresting water, there shall never be rest
Till the last moon droop and the last tide fail,
And the fire of the end begin to burn in the west;
And the heart shall be weary and wonder and cry like the sea,
All life long crying without avail,
As the water all night long is crying to me.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 10, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

I saw the face of my mother again.
It was a night that seemed to have severed
night from sleep.
The night drew on or halted,
a cutting knife or a hurricane gust,
but the dream didn’t head for its night.
I felt as if everything weighed upward,
you spoke there, almost murmuring,
in the ear of some tiny crab,
alright, I know this because I saw her smile
that wanted to approach to offer me
the little creature,
to watch its amusing crawl
or to plunge it in hot flour.
The ripe corncob like a baby tooth,
in a drawer teeming with silver-plated ants.
The simile of the drawer like a snake,
the size of an arm, a snake rendering slivers
out of the folded length of its tongue, the one
where old watches are kept, the hilarious
frightful talking drawer.
Groping along the door frame,
to begin to feel, covering my eyes,
though eventually motionless,
that what remained was heavier,
with the lightness of what the rain weighs
or the harp’s venetian blinds.
The courtyard was attended
by the entire moon, along with the other invited meteors.
The itinerary of their habit was auspicious and magical.
I watched the door,
but the rest of her body remained subtracted,
like someone who begins to speak,
who laughs again
but who, lingering between the door
and whatever else remains,
seems to have left and then returns.
What’s left is God maybe,
minus myself maybe,
maybe the solar scraping
within which, astride, maybe the self.
At my side, the other body
breathing with eyes
adhered to the rock of this spherical emptiness.
It all began to vanish
into a whirling metal with borders
assaulted by the brevity of flames,
into the steam rising from a tiny
cup of morning coffee,
into locks of hair.

Used with the permission of the University of California Press, from Selections: José Lezama Lima, edited by Ernesto Livon-Grosman, 2005; permission conveyed through Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

This poem is in the public domain.