Justice Kennedy retired
farewell pious blowhard
from the dark collective
grief of half of us I stole
one long hour to think
despair is a privilege
we can’t afford but really
a few of us totally can
which is of course precisely
what creates the vacuum
this continual impervious
self-satisfied classic righteous
American malice can gleefully
pour into to crush
everything especially
our clever laments
today all my rich white
friends are talking again
about leaving for houses
they have not yet decided
to purchase over the border
it’s grotesque yet I too
admit when we finally
realized our son who
remembers every song
would not speak like
all the others
moving deeper into
places we could not go
we without hesitation
in fear with our money
went over whatever
we thought separated us
from a solution to this
and also other problems
most don’t even get to name
today in my hybrid
I too see the blue tarps
under the freeway as I drive
him to another appointment
he has the softest skin
and is never frantic
he loves when the trucks get
so dangerously close
and sings the same song
I taught him years ago
when I was in despair
about how to be happy
it’s been so much better
but still I walk around
as if something that cannot
fail protects everything I need
and only now can I ask
what dream was I born into
and what will happen
when the dreamer wakes

From Father’s Day (Copper Canyon Press, 2019). Copyright © 2019 Matthew Zapruder. Reprinted with the permission of the poet.

one year, i carried the blues around
like a baby. sure, my coffee mugs cupped

amethysts :: water gushed, rose-tinted
and -scented, from the faucets at my touch ::
the air orange with butterflies that never

left me. meanwhile, indigo held fast
to my toes :: lapis lapped my fingertips ::

and a hue the shade of mermaid scales
bolted through my hair like lightning.

my eyelids drooped, fell, heavy with sky.
that year i carried the blues around

left me mean :: while indigo held fast,
the daily news tattooed azure to my back. 
true, festivals of lilies buoyed me. but what 

good could white do? the blues grow like
shadows in late sun :: stretch  creep  run.

Copyright © 2019 by Evie Shockley. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 12, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.