not back, let’s not come back, let’s go by the speed of 
queer zest & stay up 
there & get ourselves a little 
moon cottage (so pretty), then start a moon garden 

with lots of moon veggies (so healthy), i mean 
i was already moonlighting 
as an online moonologist 
most weekends, so this is the immensely 

logical next step, are you 
packing your bags yet, don’t forget your 
sailor moon jean jacket, let’s wear 
our sailor moon jean jackets while twirling in that lighter, 

queerer moon gravity, let’s love each other 
(so good) on the moon, let’s love 
the moon        
on the moon

Copyright © 2021 by Chen Chen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 31, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

This poem is in the public domain.

Oh science sequestered much,
And by wisdom’s gentler touch,
         Accelerated more!
Did not they voice give the command
That man must venture from his strand
In quest of other distant land,
         Or was it ancient lore?

For sure into his peaceful breast,
Thou breathed the spirit of unrest,
         And bade him search the skies:
Thou pictured earth a moving sphere
Whose revolutions make the year,
And whispered to his listening ear,
          “Search heaven and be wise.”

Thy presence round him, charming fell.
And break did it the magic spell
         That ignorance had wrought:
And plain did seem the merry race
Of myriad planets thrown in space—
Just how each kept in his place,
         Has fostered wondrous thought.

And oft the would-be infidel
Has list the story that you tell
         And wisely gave a nod;
For now the planet checkered sky
And tangle comments hissing by
Have seized and borne his thoughts on high,
         Acknowledging a God.

No day has dawned, no sunbeam shone,
Where thought of man has not yet gone:
         And the rugged panoply,
Encasing of his mental frame,
Doth burst with unbounding fame
And conquers heaven in thy name,
         Science of the canopy.

Ah! could the Alexander brave
Be resurrected from his grave?
         Weep he would no more,
That no worlds to conquer still
He had; for science would fulfil
The very letter of his will,
         Of worlds, would give him more.

From Jessamine (Self published, 1900) by James Thomas Franklin. Copyright © 1900 by James Thomas Franklin. This poem is in the public domain.

teach your daughters
to sing the song backwards
counterclockwise
wind in their mouths

teach them early
to breathe in the dust 
swirl it into their lungs

teach your children 
that the opposite of a secret
is a drink

teach them 
by example
to drink air

*

send your daughters
where the earth is soft

they’ll come back
and tell you life is hard

send your daughters
off the planet now

show them how
to do their dirt
in space

send your daughters
to the sky 
for clay

practiced as they are
at leaving earth

teach your daughters
that the only world they’ll have
will be the one they shape
by hand
and foot

*

train your daughters
how to dance in mud

cleanse them 
of the myth 
of solid ground

show them that
the mark they make
is evidence of body
not of word

is evidence of soil
and not of breath

teach your daughters
how to outrun death

Copyright © 2024 by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 22, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.

The astronaut told us
he didn’t look out the window
for eight and a half minutes
as the rocket launched him
beyond our atmosphere.
Terrifying things happened—
ground vanished, boosters
exploded, day became
night—and he did not look.
He was focusing,
he said, on his job.

He was up there
a long time. He learned
to sleep suspended. He learned
how the sunrise looks
when you watch it every morning
from the soft dark mouth
of space. Many things,
he told us, were different
than he’d once expected.
There’s no space ice cream,
he said. That’s a big hoax.
His vision blurred.
His body became a study:
blood, appetite, cognitive function.

He took many pictures.
All of them were beautiful.
None of them showed
what it was like to float.

When the astronaut returned
to earth, more tests were run.
Scientists discovered that
seven percent of his genes
had changed in space.
He left the planet
as himself. He came back
as himself, rearranged.

Copyright © 2020 by Catherine Pierce. From Danger Days (Saturnalia, 2020). Used with the permission of the poet.

Your baby is the size of a sweet pea.
Your baby is the size of a cherry.
Your baby is the size of a single red leaf
in early September. Your baby is the size
of What if. The size of Please Lord.
The size of a young lynx stretching.
Heat lightning. A lava lamp.
Your baby is the size of every dream
you've ever had about being onstage
and not knowing your lines. Your baby
is the size of a can of Miller Lite.
Apple-picking. Google. All of Google.
Your baby is the size of a googol,
and also the size of the iridescence
at a hummingbird’s throat. Your baby
is the size of a bulletproof nap mat.
Cassiopeia on a cold night. The size
of the 1.5-degree rise in ocean temps
between 1901 and 2015. Your baby
is the size of the lie you told your mother
the night before Senior Skip Day, and
also the size of the first time you saw
a whale shark glide by, its gray heft
filling the tank’s window, and also
the size of just the very best acorn.
Your baby is the size of the Mona Lisa.
The size of the Louvre. The size
of that moment in “Levon” when
the strings first kick in. Your baby
is the size of a baby-sized pumpkin.
A bright hibiscus. A door. Your baby
is the size of the Gravitron, and your fear
the first time you rode it that your heart
might drop right through your body,
and then your elation when it didn't,
when the red vinyl panels rose and fell
and you rose and fell with them.

Copyright © 2020 by Catherine Pierce. From Danger Days (Saturnalia, 2020). Used with the permission of the poet.