I followed myself for a long while, deep into the field.
Two heads full of garbage.
Our scope was larger than I realized,
which only made me that much more responsible.
Yellow, yellow, gold, and ocher.
We stopped. We held the field. We stood very still.
Everyone needs a place.
You need it for the moment you need it, then you bless it—
thank you soup, thank you flashlight—
and move on. Who does this? No one.
I like being with you all night with closed eyes.
What luck—here you are
along the stars!
I did a road trip
all over my mind and heart
there you were
kneeling by the roadside
with your little toolkit
Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.
Copyright © 2020 by Anne Carson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 10, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
This poem is in the public domain.
Play it across the table.
What if we steal this city blind?
If they want any thing let 'em nail it down.
Harness bulls, dicks, front office men,
And the high goats up on the bench,
Ain't they all in cahoots?
Ain't it fifty-fifty all down the line,
Petemen, dips, boosters, stick-ups and guns—
what's to hinder?
If they nail you call in a mouthpiece.
Fix it, you gazump, you slant-head, fix it.
Feed 'em. . . .
Nothin' ever sticks to my fingers, nah, nah,
nothin' like that,
But there ain't no law we got to wear mittens—
Mittens, that's a good one—mittens!
There oughta be a law everybody wear mittens.
Once upon a time there was a bird, my God.
I am the yellow finch that came to her feeder an hour before she died. I was the last living thing she saw, so my responsibility was great. Yet all I did was eat. Through eight long months of winter the black oiled sunflower seeds had gone untouched—not a single one of my kind or any other kind had approached them. It was too much work. Even if we’d had the strength—which we did not, half-starved as we were—we were not in the mood to crack anything. On the morning of the twenty-second of April she took them away and refilled the feeding tube with sunflower hearts—sheeny niblets whose hard outer husk had been stripped away by some faraway, intricate machine. She went back inside and waited. From my branch I could see her do the things she liked to do—she picked up a towel from off the floor, she filled out a card stopping the mail, she boiled water, she stared into space. She saw me coming. Her face flickered with, if not exactly joy, the ordinary wellspring of life. It’s true there was a sheet of glass between us. But I could see the seeds of her eyes and the upturned corners of her mouth. I ate a heart. I turned my head. She looked at me as if I were the last living thing on earth. And as I was, I kept on eating.
From My Private Property. Copyright © 2016 by Mary Ruefle. Reprinted with permission of the author and Wave Books.