The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.
The water is one thing, making this bridge
Built over the water another. Walk it
Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone
Rising just to find a way toward rest again.
We work, start on one side of the day
Like a planet’s only sun, our eyes straight
Until the flame sinks. The flame sinks. Thank God
I’m different. I’ve figured and counted. I’m not crossing
To cross back. I’m set
On something vast. It reaches
Long as the sea. I’m more than a conqueror, bigger
Than bravery. I don’t march. I’m the one who leaps.
From The Tradition. Copyright © 2019 by Jericho Brown. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
Copyright © 1962 by William Carlos Williams. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this poem may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher.
Only today did I notice the abyss
in abysmal and only because my mind
was generating rhymes for dismal,
and it made of the two a pair,
to which much later it joined
baptismal, as—I think—a joke.
I decided to do nothing with
the rhymes, treating them as one does
the unfortunately frequent appearance
of the “crafts” adults require children
to fashion from pipe cleaners
and plastic beads. One is not permitted
to simply throw them away,
but can designate a drawer
that serves as a kind of trash can
never emptied. I suppose one day
it will be full, and then I will know
it is time to set my child free.
The difficulty is my mind leaks
and so it will never fill, despite
the clumps of language I drop in,
and this means my mind can never
be abandoned in the woods
with a kiss and a wave
and a little red kerchief
tied under its chin.
Copyright © 2019 by Heather Christle. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 20, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
Today we walked the inlet Nybøl Nor remembering how to tread on frozen snow. Ate cold sloeberries that tasted of wind—a white pucker— spat their sour pits in snow. Along the horizon, a line of windmills dissolved into a white field. Your voice on the phone, a gesund auf dein keppele you blessed my head. Six months now since I've seen you. There are traces of you here, your curls still dark and long, your woven dove, the room you stayed in: send your syllables, I am swimming below the tidemark. Words shed overcoats, come to me undressed, slender-limbed, they have no letters yet. It is the festival of lights, I have no candles. I light one for each night, pray on a row of nine lighthouses.
From Pulleys & Locomotion (Black Lawrence Press, 2009). Copyright © 2009 by Rachel Galvin. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
(after Stephen Hawking)
Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity
we once were?
so compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money—
nobody hiding in the school bathroom
or home alone
pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.
For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you. Remember?
There was no Nature. No
them. No tests
to determine if the elephant
grieves her calf or if
the coral reef feels pain. Trashed
oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French;
would that we could wake up to what we were
—when we were ocean and before that
to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock was
liquid and stars were space and space was not
before we came to believe humans were so important
before this awful loneliness.
Can molecules recall it?
what once was? before anything happened?
No I, no We, no one. No was
No verb no noun
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with
is is is is is
All everything home
Copyright © 2019 by Marie Howe. Used with the permission of the poet.