Viewed from space, the world’s
                                                                              France appears,
                                                         but no Frenchmen.
                                                                                         Then Germany,
                                                         without one German.
                                                         the richest man on earth
                                                         pays three hundred thousand
                                                         for a ten-minute flight by rocket
                                                         at three thousand miles per hour
                                                         to see everything below
                                                         from sixty-two miles straight up.
                                                         He’s making business plans
                                                         for space, beginning with Mars
                                                         and the moon. 
                                                                                       There’s ample
                                                         precedent to show how profit
                                                                            After we mapped
                                                         the earth as we imagined it,
                                                         we matched what we imagined
                                                         with the world as it would look
                                                         when photographed from space.
                                                         We did the same with rivers,
                                                         lakes and seas.
                                                                                        We kept
                                                         the original names unchanged
                                                         for everything we saw
                                                         as far as we could fly. 
                                                         From seashores to the stratosphere
                                                         the world was seen as property
                                                         that men could bargain for and buy.
                                                         We see it now the same
                                                         while profiteers debate how best 
                                                         to advertise and sell the sky.

Copyright © 2022 by Samuel Hazo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 5, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Needless to say I support the forsythia’s war
against the dull colored houses, the beagle
deciphering the infinitely complicated universe
at the bottom of a fence post. I should be gussying up
my resume, I should be dusting off my protestant work ethic,
not walking around the neighborhood loving the peonies
and the lilac bushes, not heading up Shamrock
and spotting Lucia coming down the train tracks. Lucia
who just sold her first story and whose rent is going up,
too, Lucia who says she’s moving to South America to save money,
Lucia, cute twenty-something I wish wasn’t walking down train tracks
alone. I tell her about my niece teaching in China, about the waiter
who built a tiny house in Hawaii, how he saved up, how
he had to call the house a garage to get a building permit.
Someone’s practicing the trumpet, someone’s frying bacon
and once again the wisteria across the street is trying to take over
the nation. Which could use a nice invasion, old growth trees
and sea turtles, every kind of bird marching
on Washington. If I had something in my refrigerator,
if my house didn’t look like the woman who lives there
forgot to water the plants, I’d invite Lucia home,
enjoy another hour of not thinking about not having a job,
about not having a mother to move back in with.
I could pick Lucia’s brain about our circadian rhythms,
about this space between sunrise and sunset,
ask if she’s ever managed to get inside it, the air,
the sky ethereal as all get out—so close
and no ladder in sight.

Copyright © 2021 by Valencia Robin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 6, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

My mother married a man who divorced her for money. Phyllis, he would say, If you don’t stop buying jewelry, I will have to divorce you to keep us out of the poorhouse. When he said this, she would stub out a cigarette, mutter something under her breath. Eventually, he was forced to divorce her. Then, he died. Then she did. The man was not my father. My father was buried down the road, in a box his other son selected, the ashes of his third wife in a brass urn that he will hold in the crook of his arm forever. At the reception, after his funeral, I got mean on four cups of Lime Sherbet Punch. When the man who was not my father divorced my mother, I stopped being related to him. These things are complicated, says the Talmud. When he died, I couldn’t prove it. I couldn’t get a death certificate. These things are complicated, says the Health Department. Their names remain on the deed to the house. It isn’t haunted, it’s owned by ghosts. When I die, I will come in fast and low. I will stick the landing. There will be no confusion. The dead will make room for me.

Copyright © 2020 by Richard Siken. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 4, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

translated from the Spanish by Urayoán Noel

Walking is a process in ruins,
a dead history.

You inhabit the ruin and you find
a coin here and there rolling on the ground.

Men without eyes are threshing away time
in Santurce’s surviving businesses. 

It makes you want to cry
or sneak into the yards and pluck the fruits
of so many inhabitable houses 
with boarded-up windows and doors.

The city is full of homeless people.
The city is full of poor immigrants dreaming of the United States.

Perhaps leaving and coming back makes you a foreigner. 

There’s so much you don’t know about Puerto Rico now.
You begin discovering it by walking.


De Barrio Obrero a La Quince


Caminar es un proceso en ruinas,
historia muerta.

Habitas la ruina y encuentras
una que otra moneda rodando por el piso.

Hombres sin ojos desgranan tiempo
en los negocios que sobreviven en Santurce.

Da ganas de llorar
o de meterse al patio y arrancarle frutas
a tanta casa habitable
con las puertas y ventanas clausuradas.

La ciudad llena de personas sin hogar.
La ciudad llena de inmigrantes pobres que sueñan con Estados Unidos.

Irse y volver acaso te vuelve un extranjero.

Desconoces ahora tanto a Puerto Rico.
Caminando se empieza a descubrirlo.

Copyright © 2020 by Nicole Cecilia Delgado and Urayoán Noel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 17, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

The lake was (all along) a reservoir.        

                                My third grade trip was to a dam. 

All along, I wore nothing but hand me down sweaters.

                               I grow at the mercy of my mother. 

Everytime. I height. At the mercy. Of someone. Else.

                                When I put my forehead on the floor fives times a day.

It will be game over.

                               My third grade self played squash.

My third grade self could have continued playing squash.

                               A child is an investment to a future.

Because now. 26. Fat. Drenched dreaming. Of figure skating. 

                               I can’t even sit straight. I look out of windows.

Do you know what a country smells like?

                               Not home. Never home. (All along) Not me.

Smells like teen spirit.

                                Smells like sweat moustache.

Smells like mercy lighting up a dam.

                                Every sleep I was consumed by a bonfire. No music. No dance. 

I don’t hate it here.

                                I don’t hate it anywhere.

But it’s hard hearing my mother cry on the toilet.

                                It’s hard hearing the winter knock up New York.

It’s hard breathing in smog and realizing (all along) it was Lahore.

                                All along, it was just me.

But did I even know?

                               In third grade, I ate a whole box of chalk.

In third grade, I witnessed a freed pigeon return to where it was homed.

                               In third grade, they found me. Without proof. At the squash court. Hustled.

I only know ill.

                               I only know mercy.


                               Have mercy.

I spend my day shifting light bulbs to create company with my shadow.

                               I spend my day resting halved in warmth and shade.

I know what it will take to not burn me.

                               But I do not step out of the house.

And the house never steps out of me.

Copyright © 2021 by Ayesha Raees. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 1, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

Barbie Chang loves Evites Paperless
     Party Posts that host her

ego patch her holes she puts barrettes
     on her heart so other

people will see her will hear her her
     heart is made of hay is

disturbingly small held in it cage she
     is never late when invited

always ready for mimesis ready to put
     on her costume to

drink mimosas her heart smells like
     moth balls jumps at

every broth bell her heart growls more
     each day she trims it with

a number two it’s messy work missing
     her aorta by a little bit

her heart is always sort of bleeding she is
     always waiting for

invitations once she heard the Circle
     planning a birthday party

for a daughter she stationed herself
     sipped water for days

waiting for the Evite leaving her Kindle
     on as a nightlight it

glowed a blue garden on the ceiling she
     let her guard down it

never made a ringing sound when you
     brush a child’s hair the

mother can also feel the pain she heard
     the ice skating party

was a hit little girls going in figure
     eights their breath

coming out in clouds shaped like
     little white hearts

From Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press,

The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift, 
  The road is forlorn all day, 
Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift, 
  And the hoof-prints vanish away. 
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
  Expend their bloom in vain. 
Come over the hills and far with me, 
  And be my love in the rain. 

The birds have less to say for themselves 
  In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves, 
  Although they are no less there: 
All song of the woods is crushed like some 
  Wild, easily shattered rose. 
Come, be my love in the wet woods; come,
  Where the boughs rain when it blows. 

There is the gale to urge behind 
  And bruit our singing down, 
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind 
  From which to gather your gown.    
What matter if we go clear to the west, 
  And come not through dry-shod? 
For wilding brooch shall wet your breast 
  The rain-fresh goldenrod. 

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells   
  But it seems like the sea’s return 
To the ancient lands where it left the shells 
  Before the age of the fern; 
And it seems like the time when after doubt 
  Our love came back amain.      
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout 
  And be my love in the rain.

This poem is in the public domain.

                   THE POOL PLAYERS. 
                   SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

From The Bean Eaters by Gwendolyn Brooks, published by Harpers. © 1960 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Used with permission. All rights reserved.