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 amber thought leaked onto the lichen bole 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.