His priestly gestures, consecrating the broken eggs,
hands moving over the stove, slabs of meat

skittering in grease, drop biscuits big as a cat’s
head, threaded with cheese.

Him, making the fountain, making lantana, acanthus,
making bloom and ripple, song, making the birds.

My husband, the blue room, the bright room, best china,
best silver lifted from a box in the closet,

its red beds of best silver, put back later for later.
My husband who is not my husband who is still mine.

See him, crying in the Dublin airport—
he doesn’t want you to see. Can you see

the eucomis, its waxy leaves, its stalk blossoming
in the hot sun, pushing up among the marigolds?

Scars from this or that on shin or back, wrist or hand,
the way the garden loves him, the bees.

Him among the lilies, his hands lilies, his mouth
a twist of quince, his scent.

My husband among the lilies.

My husband, sauntering down the aisles. Him, sauntering
down the aisles at the flea market, dust settling

on everything, his small flashlight, his blue eyes,
his sound of geese, a train. Look,

something glitters and is gone. My husband, the gold
in the trees, falling, and him, a coverlet of mulch

across the beds, or asleep, the heat of him,
the hot water bottle of him, the cat purring at our feet.

My husband who is not my husband who is still mine.
The blue walls say so, the orchid deciding to bloom again.

Copyright © 2014 by Ed Madden. Used with the permission of the poet.

it’s the numerous letters the magnolias make
as they open—one, then another, and then
a letter i don’t quite know yet—that makes any wounded
heart seem more wounded and, despite its chances,
not worth the time. i thought i’d be used to it
by now. i stood in the greening field, i famously
like to recount, and waved my arms
so i could, at last, be claimed, be carried away.
but nothing good descended. no avian form,
no cloud, just a swarm of blue things:
flung twilight, withdrawal, an opal blame.

sure, i’ve been lonely before, i always say, but not
like this. you have to survive the bad season
to make it to the season of reversals, the magnolias
leading the fray. though that’s not
what we call it, at least not where i’m from
where there is a single, impenetrable era
that begins just as soon as it ends.

Copyright © 2022 by Bernard Ferguson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 12, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

We were lost in the plains,
beautiful and ordinary.
Sunflowers in the fields,
seeds of fallen stars,
standing tall; deeply 
rooted in this land.

I’ve admired how our flowers
shine, grasping towards the sky,
beyond the prairie grass, anchored
down to earth; mimicking the sun.

When a gardener plants the 
seeds of Helianthus, they are 
performing magic. Raising
stars out of the dust where
buzzing planets circle, half 
red moons set, and swarming 
comets float in orange comas.

I’ve always felt that late at night, 
in the bed of a truck, in a Kansas field, 
we were at the center of this universe.

And I was exactly where I should be,
amongst the flowers, not below.

From How to Hang the Moon (Spartan Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Huascar Medina. Used with the permission of the poet.