My therapist has approved my drinking of three whiskeys per night,
her eyes forbearing, knowing well the ruthlessness of night.
The sun having fled as a father might flee, my cousin fathered
a narrow terror while he robbed, with a pistol, a fellow citizen one night.
The encouraging lies of a mother are greatly underpaid job-keepers;
slovenly kings have dealt much wrong money to generals and knights.
My childhood was a lengthy scene of make believe and disaccord—
my favorite things being rain and watching my mother’s cigarettes ignite.
What of fire, among its timelessness and musculature, is not
more divine when burning past the open gates of night?
Copyright © 2021 by Marcus Jackson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 8, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
For our new apartment, which my mother may never see
since slugging into that old person’s disease—I won’t bring myself
to say it in writing—I bought a cactus and it’s beautiful,
its soldier-green skin and feline-whiskered dress howls
beneath the den light which encourages me to keep my big-boy jeans on.
I know I look for answers everywhere. Everywhere there you are
with your eyes a war-less country, a privilege we sometimes share.
But tonight, there isn’t a country. Just a sky fussing. Anxious music.
The classic duty of breath as we binge another episode of
What Should I Do When You Want to Die. Sometimes, you fail
to love me, I think I say, the math ain’t mathing—but what could you do?
You’ve researched plants, I know, to find which could live
without much gusto from its human. You pour yourself
another glass of vodka, a shot of tequila for me. Who am I
to think I’m too good for your anger—you were right…
Come, let’s sour our swords together. Come, let morning waltz
into our bedroom all cocky-like like it landlords the place. Come,
let’s plunge forward, drunkenly in love, grab hold the darkness we become.
Copyright © 2021 by Luther Hughes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 27, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.