Still turnstiles framed by a window           the red alders of Willapa Bay

                    [              Then, a red squirrel,
                                   my notation of it
                                   as if it were an upheaval
                                   in daily drifting—            ]

the limbs dangled their catkins      as I upswung to them from within

                    [              A history
                                    of a wet afterbirth
                                   and held in the arms of my mother        ovate
                                   my notation of it         formative for me—        ]

               The signal from branches        in bright green coats, loud                                                                      
                            in the vivified hollow of the swale      in a site
   of gladness (as this gaze would have had it) morning becoming
excessively noon 
                 the gladness
as I waded through it    bathing in forest     shinrin-yoku                                                                                   
                                                                                           in Arashiyama
with her      in twenty-first century style
and in other such claims of the bourgeois traveler

                           [   Why will I not name her    why will I not speak 
                               to her?    I want to spare her   no
                               I want to feel I spared her this historicity
                               and if I explain the gladness   I will harvest it
                               the new sustainability—                                ]

also      the throngs of phones in front of tourist faces

                         [    Sudden emergency warble in the alder—     ]

                         [    Then, a robin panned 
                              into the plane of glass
                              (my relentless notation of it)
                              flailed off and submerged into the alder
                                                                                      saplings—     ]

                         [     Then I shocked to a finchsong—      ]

                 And I was back to Blake (safe ground) from a near-linnet’s 
                 song ripped from itself into this alien, human, distanced, 
                 tribal ritual, convey it or to channel it        vatic

         The composer near me said there were three forms of listening: 
the sensuous plane, the expressive plane, and the sheerly musical plane, but 
but we preferred it scaled into the diatonic

with no chromatic alterations

so that much was missed

          Blake said I’ll drink of the clear stream—he would not sing—
        and this was the grief: the fish of the sighers’ stream were fish
caught within a thimble-sized drinking glass
                                                                                                     dumb fancies


Or was it the decomposing fish of Agassiz, finally described?

                         [    Then a green humming bird floated before me                                         
                              my notation of it—                                    ]

                         [    What is this false history?  what I
                             is this false history?—                ]

My alder leaves are serrated     and here comes meta phor

                                                             my use of the window as a frame
                                                               my subjectivity
                 spored into the air between our limbs
                   lodging into evergreen porousness
                  swelling through the rains into a soft 
                         blanketing moss-future

We want time to have happened before we did
but not after we did
the forest was here for us to arrive within
                                                                   [we paid our admission
                                                                   we paid to feed the deer  ]

         The red alders on the edge of the continent will hear 
          the shallow breath outside the mouth of the creation

         without us, a bombast torn into the plane of silence 

           as the shelf slips at last into the eustatic Pacific

         we distance ourselves from our bodies
         these storehouses of bloodless meat erected on feet

         and whatever is made of alder is alder

                                               Yes now unlatch 
                                               the lock
                                                from this gland 
                                               morning’s sap
                                                into an instant 
                                                thought leaked 
                                                onto the lichen 
                                               hatched through 
                                                  the window

Copyright © 2018 by Richard Greenfield. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 14, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

what I really mean. He paints my name
across the floral bed sheet and ties the bottom corners
to my ankles. Then he paints another
for himself. We walk into town and play the shadow game,
saying Oh! I’m sorry for stepping on your
shadow! and Please be careful! My shadow is caught in the wheels
of your shopping cart. It's all very polite.
Our shadows get dirty just like anyone’s, so we take
them to the Laundromat—the one with
the 1996 Olympics themed pinball machine—
and watch our shadows warm
against each other. We bring the shadow game home
and (this is my favorite part) when we
stretch our shadows across the bed, we get so tangled
my husband grips his own wrist,
certain it’s my wrist, and kisses it.

Copyright © 2018 by Paige Lewis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 6, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

How is it you bring me back to the cliffs   the bright heads of eagles   the vessels of grief in the soil?   I dig for you with a gentle bit of lighter fluid and three miniature rakes   burning only a single speck of dirt to touch a twig as tiny as a neuron   or even smaller   one magic synapse inside the terminus limbs of your breath

The fighter jets fly over the house every hour   no sound but inside our hands   I hear a far chime and I am cold    a north wind and the grit of night   first the murmur then the corpse   first the paddling then the banquet   first the muzzle then the hanging   the plea   first the break then the tap the tap   I hear your skin   the reach of your arms   the slick along your thighs   more floorboard than step   first the flannel then the gag   first the bells   then the exhale

I hear a dog who is always in my death   the breath of a mother who holds a gun   a pillow in the shape of a heart   first the planes then the criminal ponds   first the ghost boats then the trains   first the gates then the bargain   a child formed from my fingertip and the eye of my grandmother’s mother   a child born at 90   the rise and rush of air   a child who walks from the gas

Copyright © 2019 by Samuel Ace. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 10, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

so many this mornings so many movement so many breezes 
so many cypress so many doorways demolished so many brush 
so many vines crawl up the front of that house and so many 
spaces so many wide open between one structure and another 
so many ditches so many cars parked in the grass in front of a home 
supposedly abandoned where people live so many branches 
piles at the curb so many beat-downs so many row houses 
gone and so many porches so many cut-throughs so many feeling
still in the wood so many highways invade so many train horns 
blow softly so many autumn morning so many springtime dusk 
so many pink afternoon as the sun peeks through the blinds so many 
pick-up trucks so many suvs so many milk factories and so many 
18 wheelers so many tiny plastic bottles of milk and so many oaks 
and so many farms and so many concrete and so many cracked 
and so many peeling paint so many thickness so many depression 
so many joy so many angry pinpricks so many back-ups so many 
give me a hug so many late night drunken driving so many early 
morning so many mourning doves so many cooing so many police 
sirens so many listening so many humans walk the middle of the road 
so many cars wait to pass so many anger and so many smile so many 
apprehension so many thistles so many concrete slabs so many gape
so many lost and so many nights so many grandmas so many grandkids 
so many people just trying to remember what used to be there 
so many new people who just got here so many things to misremember
so many escape memory so many brains so many bodies so many 
bodies gone and so many cemeteries marked and unmarked so 
many ditches so many huevo con papa and cake so many deep 
deep breaths so many sighs so many pauses so many moments of 
silence so many marches so many meetings god so many meetings 
so many attempts so many failures so many new townhomes so many 
dispossessed so many carwashes so many cowboy hats so many persons 
forced out so many barbecues so many coolers so many bags of ice so 
many country ballads so many accordions so many quiet so many loud 
so many noisy so many silent so many germans so many telephone road 
so many lasagna so many pupusa so many gordita so many jaywalkers 
and so many dance moves at the bus stop so many jiggling and so many 
cars pass by so many stares and so many awkwardness so many 
good mornings so many fuck you’s so many fights and so many love-
making so many graffitied so many murals so many old doors so many 
lintels so many country people come to the city so many bulldozers 
and so many work crews so many dusty lifts into air so many hardhats 
and so many pallets so many pine and so many sheet of metal 
so many buses so many stray dogs so many mean-mugging 
and so many evictions so many eminent domain so many minimizing 
and so many excuses so many money so many reasons so many justify 
so many sadness so many let it go and so many so-called misunder-
standings so many moldy and wet so many floodlines so many hurricanes 
so many attitudes so many perspectives so many sung and un-sung so 
many panaderías demolished so many pushing and so many pulling 
so many mechanics so many broken down cars so many lay in the sun so 
many wait so many trees blow in the early morning wind so many
speed up and so many people go home so many people go to work so 
many undone so many bulldozers so many hoses spray water on wreckage 
so many shovelfuls of metal and lumber so many precious objects discard so 
many lost in the tumble so many feelings so many yellow and red so many 
silver and gold so many blue and green so many green things so many grass 
so many suns beat down so many heatstrokes so many city moves on 
so many layers so many accumulations so many things a street a street remember 

Copyright © 2018 by John Pluecker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 21, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.