New Year on my mountain

mama says: long noodles, long life,
so I slurp them loud, drink gingery
broth—polka-dot beads of sweat
forming as my nose hovers over
the soup’s steam. circles for luck.

circles on my dress. papa says:
make a lot of noise! so the children
bang on pots & pans to hush
yesterday’s demons. later, in the cold,

the family plods up the hill to wonder
at the fireworks, sky like a warzone lit
with spraying flames from Roman Candles—
fire on the ground from Watusi whips snaking
& coiling, sizzling our feet.

I feel it all in my chest—
a drumming,
a warning, a spell.

back in the yard, granny doles out rice
& meat, pineapple liquor, glass bottles
of Sprite. but I am snoring by midnight,
my sisters & I still swathed in red chiffon.

by morning, I cry because I missed it.
I cry because they say I’m not alone.
I cry because home is a warning,
its pulse a whiff of flint in the dark.

Copyright © 2023 by Ina Cariño. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 17, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

After dinner, I’m mailed back to my father in a suitcase.

The tablecloth is edible. Gold is edible. God is edible too.

Don’t believe the words on the table—they’re not food.

I’m worried someone will walk in and take my plate away.

The men I grew up with ate white rice burritos.

Sometimes the stars feel nearby. Sometimes they write.

When my parents fought about rent, the ends of my body came and went.

My father climbs out of my body at night in search of gold chains

He can pawn at Don Roberto Jewelers.

At some point, a pattern will emerge—at some point, all of it will make sense.

A vast table, laid out with fruits, vegetables, and smoked meats.

Gold is edible. Fathers are edible too.

Mom makes a list of chores for my brother and I to avoid being slapped

Or asked to assume the position from across the room.

We are nuisances, embarrassments, party-squatters to teenage parents.

At my cousin’s wedding: birria, red rice and potato salad.

Then into the bathroom—I go.

I try but can’t stop putting certain things inside me.

For a long time, I thought all girls were disciplined this way,

Thrown into the dark to reckon with thoughts.

He told me the vein inside had broken—put that in my book.

Fairy tales about girls who’ve been wronged.

Copyright © 2023 by Diana Marie Delgado. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 23, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Always at dusk, the same tearless experience,
The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path
To the same well-worn rock;
The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun
The same tints—rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey
Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;
Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to a point;
Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,
Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,
Watching, watching—watching me;
The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will dusk after dusk;
The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the night, chin on knees
Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly miserable,
       —The eyes of my Regret.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 18, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

—after Ted Berrigan

Even on the 13th floor of a high building, Chicago’s 
wind winds its slick way through any unsecured 
window on its singsong to the lake. It’s fine-tuned, 

perfectly pitched in this sinister season 
of cackling jack-o’-lanterns & candy corns 
nobody eats unless they’re the last sweets left.

Bags of fun nonsense for all the little ninjas 
& ghosts. It’s true, I weep too much when 
the seasons partition: snack-sized tears dropping onto 

tear-sized leaves swirling in the autumn 
of my reproduction. Occasional receipts & parking 
tickets, too, yellowed during their own windy migrations. 

Like the rest of us gusty apparitions, every 
untethered thing ends up at the lake shore seasonally. 

Copyright © 2023 by Adrian Matejka. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 24, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Translated from the Russian by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky

Like a white stone deep in a draw-well lying,
As hard and clear, a memory lies in me.
I cannot strive nor have I heart for striving:
It is such pain and yet such ecstasy.

It seems to me that someone looking closely
Into my eyes would see it, patent, pale.
And, seeing, would grow sadder and more thoughtful
Than one who listens to a bitter tale.

The ancient gods changed men to things, but left them
A consciousness that smoldered endlessly,
That splendid sorrows might endure forever.
And you are changed into a memory.



[Как белый камень в глубине колодца,]


Как белый камень в глубине колодца,
Лежит во мне одно воспоминанье.
Я не могу и не хочу бороться:
Оно—веселье и оно—страданье.

Мне кажется, что тот, кто близко взглянет
В мои глаза, его увидит сразу.
Печальней и задумчивее станет
Внимающего скорбному рассказу.

Я ведаю, что боги превращали
Людей в предметы, не убив сознанья,
Чтоб вечно жили дивные печали.
Ты превращён в моё воспоминанье.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 12, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.


It’s autumn, and we’re getting rid
of books, getting ready to retire,
to move some place smaller, more
manageable. We’re living in reverse,
age-proofing the new house, nothing
on the floors to trip over, no hindrances
to the slowed mechanisms of our bodies,
a small table for two. Our world is
shrinking, our closets mostly empty,
gone the tight skirts and dancing shoes,
the bells and whistles. Now, when
someone comes to visit and admires
our complete works of Shakespeare,
the hawk feather in the open dictionary,
the iron angel on a shelf, we say
take them. This is the most important
time of all, the age of divestment,
knowing what we leave behind is
like the fragrance of blossoming trees
that grows stronger after
you’ve passed them, breathing
them in for a moment before
breathing them out. An ordinary
Tuesday when one of you says
I dare you, and the other one
just laughs.

Copyright © 2023 by Dorianne Laux. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 4, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

As a child, when I closed my eyes to pray I saw a hissing
wall of TV snow. The tighter I closed them, the harder it
hissed. A song with two notes. AH ee AH ee AH ee AH . . .
But I kept coming back, like I kept playing, I know you
are but what am I? with my older brother who never lost
because, “I’m not your real brother, dork.” Kept coming
back. “Jesus, I made you a drawing of our yard.” Kept on
till the day Bigfoot made of prayer snow strolled through
the prayer snow. “Bigfoot?” AH ee AH ee AH ee AH . . .
Oh well. I knew it wasn’t indifference. Bigfoot was shy
like coyotes and me. I promised him I’d only pray for things
I really needed, and I’d never sneak up on him and scream,
“PAY ATTENTION!” like my tap dance teacher did: right
in my ear when I was listening to "Feelings,” wholly
enrapt, captivated. People who do that can go to hell.

Copyright © 2023 by Jennifer L. Knox. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 10, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Whenever I feel loss or lack, I imagine 
The wind roaming outside of my childhood’s lair
—as I am a child again, with my red knapsack 
bouncing lightly on my back— 
Beckoning me to run to it, into its slurry white expanse . . .
And in my heart, I am already on my way 
To some thrilling future 
Which is not yet weak and diluted with a lonely pain.
There, I am someone who wishes to be 
An exception and I am. A third and ringing note 
Edges the banal alternatives of 
Yes, and No. A lyric possibility rises 
Everywhere and at once, a thousand roses—allusive, corrosive.
Think how much you must change. Even more than you dare.

Copyright © 2023 by Sandra Lim. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 1, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Liz, I think her name was, the woman 
my mother brought me to. We played

cards in her perfumed office: lavender,
tulips, bowl of wax fruit. I was ten

and wanted to die. I don’t know why
I’m here again. I lived. Obviously, 

I lived. When I was older, but still 
a child, not innocent, but foolish,

I looked up from my solitary 
suffering. I learned the history

of men. I pointed to a spot
on the map they rendered. I said 

then, then, built my common life
in a room at the end. 

If it’s true, what they say, that poetry 
is written with the knowledge of

and against death, that it is 
a beacon, a bulwark, then Love, 

I confess, I have been no poet. 
Outside, a hawk circles overhead. 

Four cops circle a woman
dressed all in red. I circle

the apartment as you sleep, happily
in the next room. Just this once

I want so desperately 
to be proven wrong. 

Copyright © 2023 by Carmen Awkward-Rich. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 9, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

translated from the modern Greek by John Cavafy

Without reflection, without mercy, without shame,
they built strong walls and high, and compassed me about.

And here I sit now and consider and despair.

It wears away my heart and brain, this evil fate:
I had outside so many things to terminate.

Oh! why when they were building could I not beware!

But never a sound of building, never an echo came.
Insensibly they drew the world and shut me out. 




Χωρίς περίσκεψιν, χωρίς λύπην, χωρίς αιδώ
μεγάλα κ’ υψηλά τριγύρω μου έκτισαν τείχη.

Και κάθομαι και απελπίζομαι τώρα εδώ.
Άλλο δεν σκέπτομαι: τον νουν μου τρώγει αυτή η τύχη·

διότι πράγματα πολλά έξω να κάμω είχον.
A όταν έκτιζαν τα τείχη πώς να μην προσέξω.

Aλλά δεν άκουσα ποτέ κρότον κτιστών ή ήχον.
Aνεπαισθήτως μ’ έκλεισαν από τον κόσμον έξω.

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

Quahog two hooves clenched among two hundred brothers.

With an awl, someone counted your stairs
leading back to a dynasty:
five hundred years of tide,
near two thousand anvils of sunshine—

and you, fat in the castanet you made,
a home calcium, dedicated room.
If it weren’t for us, you’d be living
calm as a dawn

That’s where witnessing you alive—
as gazes tilt away from your lip,
a glint, the flashbulb rings of Saturn
seen through a lens, its ice flying apart

there sit the rings
a still, tilted hat—
here to find out
how to leave things alone

Copyright © 2023 by Cynthia Arrieu-King. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 29, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Roberto Cabrera performs his Protactile poem “Oregon State Hospital”

translated from the Protactile by John Lee Clark

Wandering in the museum
I came across a woman’s story.

Let us conjure her up
in the form of a fist.

First, they knocked her head
and they said, Tsk-tsk.

Next, they zapped her
and they said, Huh.

Next, they shone lights in her face
and they said, Phooey.

Finally, they bored a hole here
and another here.

Her head tilted gently to the side
and they said, Aha.

Copyright © 2023 by Roberto Cabrera. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 13, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

A bed should be a tender slab, devoid of insects.

A tired woman should be able to lie across diagonally,
headache to hag feet.

A bed should exist in crystalline silence.

It should have a sleepy blue view.
A nearby window not close to voyeurs.

A bed should have a special pillow to shush the head,
to coddle and safety the amygdala.

If established on the ground, a bed should have
a bioluminescent quilt to redirect the gaze: the prey
is over there.

If established in a tree, the quilt may allow for free feet
or a tossback with luxuriant abandon.

Among other things, do not build your bed on dictionaries
or books of any kind.

A bed is best made from a wood frame, or metal, or dark matter.

A bed should be free of lye, lime, and liars.

One should be able to enter the bed and think
I could fly far away in this. I could die; I could just die.

Copyright © 2023 by Jill Khoury. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 14, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

the ears lie but claim
the eyes lie or perhaps the body
either way the world is a ship
I call it “vestibular unease”
as I glance smartly over my glasses
motionsick in my stationary body
the fancy word just means
I live on a yellow submarine
not quite as glamorous as it sounds

you should be able to sink
your heels pleasurably into the floor
enjoy the solidity of the world
reality is not supposed to have give
like an overripe plum
I prefer wooden floors to marble
but even plastic laminate is okay
it keeps you upright and springy
I refuse to live on a ship/plum
I have no navigatory skills
and I don’t want to be the stone
inside gooey fruitflesh
straight horizons should be
mandated by law
don’t make the world turn wrinkly
like my fingers after bathing
I crave stability but
refuse to be the stone

Copyright © 2023 by Maija Haavisto. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 17, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Morning laps at its bowl of water.
The lake eagerly greets the shore.
A man in his bathrobe does the daily puzzle,
the smell of coffee—six across.

A boy upstairs lingers in bed.
The warmth of the sheets envelops him.
“How many letters?” “Does it fit?”
The promise of pancakes—four across.

He had dreamt forever of a scene like this:
family, food, a true-green home.
(Violence: that’s a cross word puzzle.
The way he’d cry—eleven down.)

Late afternoon. The wind picks up.
A single blank remains.
“I think I’ve got it. Everything fits!”
His heart billows like a sail.

Copyright © 2023 by DJ Savarese. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 19, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

I will start again tomorrow, after waking under
the fingernails of Scheherazade. Small things
will become large, and large things will become
themselves. It is an old story and familiar, despite
how much I hate being divided. Here I am, despite
how much I should not be. At this moment, I am
reaching far into a page that is oozing like honey-

comb. If you will pardon my hyperbole, there are
leaves of something that matters, I do not know
what, blowing in every direction. At the foretold
moment, our other earth opens a secret hand. If
there is a purpose, we will know it soon enough,
although not knowing feels satisfactory and good:
better than good, I am tempted to say to the bees.

Copyright © 2023 by Nathan Spoon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 20, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

for the young who ask, “How did you learn to like yourself?”

There are glaciers, imposing, yet shrinking.
There is the iris, violet sky cradling shards of sun.
The white Bengal tiger, snow and black ink.
Infinite reasons I could give for gladness,

though none may salve the wound from which
your question arises, how to be glad to be alive?
Stitch your heart’s fissure: recall family, friends,
a slap, cigarette burn, the rod, something smashed 

down, or welled up in your darkened pupil.
Turn outward: two A.M. streets, the creeps in cars,
the chaos of human folly delivered by calm,
coiffed news anchors. The wound is within you

and not. The answer within you and not.
Want, comfort, desire, love ought not be wounds.
We pine for them from our first wail,
what you must give and take, till no voice is left.

Copyright © 2023 by Johnson Cheu. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 21, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

In me is a little painted square
Bordered by old shops, with gaudy awnings.
And before the shops sit smoking, open-bloused old men,
Drinking sunlight.
The old men are my thoughts:
And I come to them each evening, in a creaking cart,
And quietly unload supplies.
We fill slim pipes and chat,
And inhale scents from pale flowers in the center of the square . . .
Strong men, tinkling women, and dripping, squealing children
Stroll past us, or into the shops.
They greet the shopkeepers, and touch their hats or foreheads to me . . .
Some evening I shall not return to my people.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 26, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

A picture in a newspaper

She has been burning palaces. “To see
     The sparks look pretty in the wind?” Well, yes—
And something more. But women brave as she
     Leave much for cowards, such as I, to guess.

But this is old, so old that everything
     Is ashes here—the woman and the rest.
Two years are—oh! so long. Now you may bring
     Some newer pictures. You like this one best?

You wish that you had lived in Paris then?
     You would have loved to burn a palace, too?
But they had guns in France, and Christian men
     Shot wicked little Communists like you.

You would have burned the palace?—Just because
     You did not live in it yourself! Oh! why
Have I not taught you to respect the laws?
     You would have burned the palace—would not I?

Would I? Go to your play. Would I, indeed?
     I? Does the boy not know my soul to be
Languid and worldly, with a dainty need
     For light and music? Yet he questions me.

Can he have seen my soul more near than I?
     Ah! in the dusk and distance sweet she seems,
With lips to kiss away a baby’s cry,
     Hands fit for flowers, and eyes for tears and dreams.

Can he have seen my soul? And could she wear
     Such utter life upon a dying face:
Such unappealing, beautiful despair:
     Such garments— soon to be a shroud—with grace?

Has she a charm so calm that it could breathe
     In damp, low places till some frightened hour;
Then start, like a fair, subtle snake, and wreathe
     A stinging poison with shadowy power?

Would I burn palaces? The child has seen
     In this fierce creature of the Commune here,
So bright with bitterness and so serene,
     A being finer than my soul, I fear.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

I am ashamed to keep thinking of death
as a chute that connects to the garbage. I know
I should picture it more like the pneumatic tubes

at banks of the past: you put in your name
and your paper and up you go. I know a bank

should be the operative metaphor
for every facet of existence, every time. I’m sorry

I haven’t more regularly made reference
to a bank. When I fail to liken something to a bank,
that’s how I can tell I’m tired. That’s not me,

I assure everybody. That’s the long week talking. Time
for bed. Time for the window, the hectoring sky,

the streetlight bright as the bright saved people
see before they die, but I don’t die.

Copyright © 2023 by Natalie Shapero. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 4, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Now let no charitable hope
Confuse my mind with images
Of eagle and of antelope:
I am by nature none of these.

I was, being human, born alone;
I am, being woman, hard beset;
I live by squeezing from a stone
The little nourishment I get.

In masks outrageous and austere
The years go by in single file;
But none has merited my fear,
And none has quite escaped my smile.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 8, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

My sorrow, when she’s here with me,
     Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
     She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
     She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
     Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
     The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
     And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
     The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
     And they are better for her praise.

This poem is in the public domain.

I once beheld the end of time!
   Its stream had ceased to be.
The drifting years, all soiled with crime,
   Lay in a filthy sea.

The prospect o’er the reeking waste
   Was plain from where I stood.
From shore to shore the wreckage faced
   The surface of the flood.

There all that men were wont to prize
   When time was flowing on,
Seemed here to sink and there to rise
   In formless ruin blown.

In slimy undulations roiled
   The glory of the brave;
The scholar’s fame, the rich man’s gold,
   Alike were on the wave.

There government, a monstrous form
   (The sea groaned ’neath the load),
A helpless mass blown by the storm,
   On grimy billows rode.

The bodies of great syndicates
   And corporations, trusts,
Proud combinations, and e’en states,
   All beasts of savage lusts,

With all the monsters ever bred
   In civilization’s womb,
Lay scattered, floating, dead,
   Throughout that liquid tomb.

It was the reign of general death,
   Wide as the sweep of eye,
Save two vile ghosts that still drew breath
   Because they could not die.

Ambition climbed above the waves
   From wreck to wreck he strove.
And as they sank to watery waves,
   He on to glory rode.

And there was Greed—immortal Greed—
   Just from the shores of time.
Of all hell’s hosts he took the lead,
   A monarch of the slime.

He neither sank below nor rose
   Above the brewing flood;
But swam full length, down to his nose,
   And steered where’er he would.

Whatever wreckage met his snout
   He swallowed promptly down—
Or floating empire, or redoubt,
   Or drifting heathen town.

And yet, it seemed in all that streaming waste
There nothing so much gratified his taste
As foetid oil in subterranean tanks,
And cliffs of coal untouched in nature’s banks,
Or bits of land where cities might be built,
As foraging plats for vileness and guilt;
Or fields of asphalt, soft as fluent salve
Or anything the Indian asked to have.

I once beheld the end of time!
   Its stream had run away;
The years all drifted down in slime,
   In filth dishonored lay.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 19, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Remember, every lover is a corsair seeking glory,
An x-marks-the-spot, a longing for invisible treasure,

Every lover is an end-point and a start-point
In the history of the world, a spark in the bright flare

Of the possible. Our swashbuckling lovers remind us:
Once we were lazing children,

Housebound and shoreless,
With no concept of the sea,

But now there’s the ocean’s blue spool,
Fleet-winged gulls, windblown caravels,

Even spouting whales,
Crow’s nests, and clouds like a white armada—

And so, when we relinquish the body’s treasure map, our lovers
Discover us the way the sailcloth in the rigging

Fills with the trade winds, from the last of the night’s stars
Through the lavish tangerine of dawn, our ships

Gliding over sheets of light-glazed silver.

Copyright © 2023 by Cyrus Cassells and Brian Turner. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 29, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

There is no Life or Death,
Only activity
And in the absolute
Is no declivity.
There is no Love or Lust
Only propensity
Who would possess
Is a nonentity.
There is no First or Last
Only equality
And who would rule
Joins the majority.
There is no Space or Time
Only intensity,
And tame things
Have no immensity.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 2, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

I am the Dark Cavalier; I am the Last Lover:
My arms shall welcome you when other arms are tired;
I stand to wait for you, patient in the darkness,
Offering forgetfulness of all that you desired.

I ask no merriment, no pretense of gladness,
I can love heavy lids and lips without their rose;
Though you are sorrowful you will not weary me;
I will not go from you when all the tired world goes.

I am the Dark Cavalier; I am the Last Lover;
I promise faithfulness no other lips may keep;
Safe in my bridal place, comforted by darkness,
You shall lie happily, smiling in your sleep.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 9, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Here, floating with the water
I escape. I float. I immerse in the richness 
of the forest; fade into the dark greens
of the ferns and reeds of the shore,
the light greens of the new leaves on the trees,
the water rushing, and oh the bird calls too.
Came to sedate, cleanse, escape.
Came to clear out my dreams
filled with bears that each night enter 
my room, tearing it apart
so as to let me know there aren’t enough
fish this year and likely the next too.
Came for water so clear 
that I could wash, that I could see. 
Came to see a goby, 
a blue, a purple, a turquoise 
too when seen from the side,
then a clear that is as a pink when it turns. 

Even as it is getting dark so fast 
that there is almost nothing left to see 
still, we together swim on, into some world
not yet imagined, not yet understood.
Oh goby, I am sorry we have made things 
so impossible for you, for all of us.
Sorry that we have done so much that 
you are few; sorry to be so lost, imageless, 
confused; sorry that I do not know how to be 
other than Grendel, swamp-like, dwelling in fen 
and moorland, up to his knees in the water
wandering the outskirts of town, angry, 
unforgiving of those who still find happiness 
amidst loss. Goby, even the very things 
that would cure us we put at risk: 
the tall tapering racemes of white midsummer
flowers on wiry black-purple stems 
that is the black cohosh; the blood red sap 
of the bloodroot and its small white petals that 
open up in sunlight; the hairy deep purple
stems of the goldenseal that support two hand-shaped leaves.
This world that once was so much, now less.
This world that was once a luminous archive 
of things evolved and adapted in slow moving 
specificity. This world that Césaire wrote 
when there was the possibility
that it might turn some other way than the nation, 
a world not of enclosure but of predatory 
celebration, liberation, a world of the sparrowhawk, 
the cynocephalus, the dolphins, and the wolves 
who feed in the untamed openings.
Fled is that music, that world, that rhetorical question 
and yet we continue on, angry, unforgiving, unsure.

Copyright © 2023 by Juliana Spahr. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 11, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

translated from the Japanese by Jeffrey Angles

I am a boy, having never known love, 
Who has suddenly fallen from the summit  
Of frightening infancy into the darkness of a well 
Dark, watery hands choke my delicate neck 
Innumerable needles of cold push into me, 
Killing my heart, wet as a fish 
Inside, each organ swells like a flower 
As I move horizontally below the earth 
Along the surface of the water  
Eventually, from the green horn in my groin 
A sprout, unreliable and delicate, will grow 
Clawing up the heavy soil with thin hands 
One day, like a pallid face, 
Its tree will rustle under the painful light 
For I desire as much space inside me  
For light as space for shadow





ぼくは 愛も知らず
怖ろしい幼年時代の頂きから 突然
くらい水の手が ぼくのひよわなのどをしめ
つめたさの無数の雛が 押し入って来ては
ぼくの 魚のように濡れた心臓をあやめる
ぼくは すべての内臓で 花のようにふくれ
地下水の表面を 水平にうごいていく
ぼくの股の青くさいつのからは やがて
たよりない芽が生え 重苦しい土を
かぼそい手で 這いのぼっていくだろう 
ぼくは 影の部分と同じほど
ぼくの中に 光の部分がほしいのだ

Copyright © 2024 by Mutsuo Takahashi and Jeffrey Angles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 19, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.