on my block, a gate
on my block, a tree smelling
of citrus & jasmine that knocks
me back into the arms of my dead
mother. i ask Ross how can a tree
be both jasmine & orange, on my block
my neighbors put up gates & stare
don’t like to share, on my block
a tree I can’t see, but can smell
a tree that can’t be both but is
on my block, my mother’s skirt twirls
& all i smell is her ghost, perfume
on my block, a fallen orange
smashed into sidewalk
it’s blood pulped on asphalt on my
block, Jordan hands me a jasmine
by the time i get home
all its petals are gone
Copyright © 2017 by Fatimah Asghar. Originally published in Poetry (March, 2017). Used with the permission of the poet.
I saw the candle brightly burning in the room!
The fringed curtains gracefully draped back,
The windows, crystal clear!
Upon the generous hearth
Quick Wit and bubbling Laughter
Flashed and danced
Sparkled and pranced,
And music to the glowing scene lent cheer.
It was a gracious sight,
So full of life, of love, of light!
Then suddenly I saw a cloud of gloom
Take form within the room:
A blue-grey mist obscured the window-panes
And silent fell the rout!
Then from the shadows came the Dreaded Shape,—
The candle flickered out!
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 11, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
I am less of myself and more of the sun;
The beat of life is wearing me
To an incomplete oblivion,
Yet not to the certain dignity
Of death. They cannot even die
Who have not lived.
The hungry jaws
Of space snap at my unlearned eye,
And time tears in my flesh like claws.
If I am not life’s, if I am not death’s,
Out of chaos I must re-reap
The burden of untasted breaths.
Who has not waked may not yet sleep.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 17, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
It was hardly a high-tech operation, stealing The Scream. That we know for certain, and what was left behind-- a store-bought ladder, a broken window, and fifty-one seconds of videotape, abstract as an overture. And the rest? We don't know. But we can envision moonlight coming in through the broken window, casting a bright shape over everything--the paintings, the floor tiles, the velvet ropes: a single, sharp-edged pattern; the figure's fixed hysteria rendered suddenly ironic by the fact of something happening; houses clapping a thousand shingle hands to shocked cheeks along the road from Oslo to Asgardstrand; the guards rushing in--too late!--greeted only by the gap-toothed smirk of the museum walls; and dangling from the picture wire like a baited hook, a postcard: "Thanks for the poor security." The policemen, lost as tourists, stand whispering in the galleries: ". . .but what does it all mean?" Someone has the answers, someone who, grasping the frame, saw his sun-red face reflected in that familiar boiling sky.
From Barter by Monica Youn, published by Graywolf Press, May 2003. Copyright © 2003 by Monica Youn. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved.