You meet someone and inside of them
you know there swells
a small country brimming
with steel and beasts of labor.
You love the country
and so you fear it.
Its flora fascinates you.
You wish to visit, though
you worry you won’t
wear the right clothes, that you'll fail
assure the clerk in the flower
shop you aren’t a thief.
They’re only roses. They remind you
of the one you love.
Even with your eyes closed
in your own mouth you’d know
Copyright © 2018 by David Welch. Used with the permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Quarterly West Issue 94.
What was unforeseen is now a bird orbiting this field.
What wasn’t a possibility is present in our arms.
It shall be and it begins with you.
Our often-misunderstood kind of love deems dangerous.
How it frightens and confounds and enrages.
How strange, unfamiliar.
Our love carries all those and the contrary.
It is most incandescent.
So, I vow to be brave.
Clear a path through jungles of shame and doubt and fear.
I’m done with silence. I proclaim.
It shall be and it sings from within.
Truly we are enraptured
With Whitmanesque urge and urgency.
I vow to love in all seasons.
When you’re summer, I’m watermelon balled up in a sky-blue bowl.
When I’m autumn, you’re foliage ablaze in New England.
When in winter, I am the tender scarf of warm mercies.
When in spring, you are the bourgeoning buds.
I vow to love you in all places.
High plains, prairies, hills and lowlands.
In our dream-laden bed,
Cradled in the nest
Of your neck.
Deep in the plum.
It shall be and it flows with you.
We’ll leap over the waters and barbaric rooftops.
You embrace my resilient metropolis.
I adore your nourishing wilderness.
I vow to love you in primal ways.
I vow to love you in infinite forms.
In our separateness and composites.
To dust and stars and the ever after.
Intrepid travelers, lovers, and family
We have arrived.
Look. The bird has come home to roost.
From Threshold (CavanKerry Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Joseph O. Legaspi. Used with the permission of the author.
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
From Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. Copyright © 1923, 1931, 1935, 1940, 1951, 1959, 1963, 1968, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1976, 1978, 1979 by George James Firmage.
Tomorrow we are bones and ash, the roots of weeds poking through our skulls. Today, simple clothes, empty mind, full stomach, alive, aware, right here, right now. Drunk on music, who needs wine? Come on, Sweetheart, let's go dancing while we still have feet.
Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.