if you have had 
            your midnights
    and they have drenched
        your barren guts
           with tears

  I sing you sunrise
         and love
and someone to touch

From Continuum: New and Selected Poems (Just Us Books, Inc., 2007 and 2014) by Mari Evans. Copyright © 2007 and 2014 by Mari Evans. Used with the permission of the Estate of Mari Evans.

Not trying to wipe the smears
of gold from my chin

not trying to erase the decadence
of seeds and profanity  

of grease not trying
to pretend I don’t open

my mouth around the zaftig
pearls of rain in the middle

of the night or that I don’t love
the moment right before sleep

when I am most tender
and translucent my bladder half-filled

knowing I will have to get up
and pee knowing my daughter

will wake up before I am ready
the way I became aware of her

on a climb through the mountains
a heaviness in my limbs a gentle

premonition as I walked later
to the Rite Aid and knew in my hands

and I knew in my mouth
and I knew in the way my body

pulled me forward as I wept
with joy but also grief

that a part of my life was ending
and isn’t it good to know when

life is about to swallow you whole
take you in its arms and say

“Live, bitch, live”
and you believe it

and this is how I will carry her
from her crib and open the curtains

partway not ready to let the
world in the trails of smoke

and exhaust winter-blue 
as Cat Stevens’ Mona Bone Jakon

spinning on the Crosley  
that opens like an old suitcase

when my daughter stands
on a chair lifting the stylus

from its perch guiding
it to the starry chatter

that hisses between songs
wondering what will play next

From I Am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers From the World (BOA Editions, 2021) by Kendra DeColo. Copyright © 2021 by Kendra DeColo. Used with the permission of the publisher.

You rake the soil of our verge, preparing our plot for summer.
Between us, walking—neighbors and dogs, questions: what are we doing here, to the earth
of our verge—unhinged rhizomes heap, clumped grief of an old barrow sways drunk on its wheel.
We agree: the barren of potential; we agree, bulbs—their dormancy, a poem—
and tubers—like language, for their incubation of eyes. I emerge, eyes
on you, nuclear to the sun—beside you, lowering; beside you, that glow-eyed beast
of emptiness arranging.


I tell you about this morning’s dream. You tear the ground with a pickaxe; I manicure
weeds from the loamy apron of a young tree. I admit: I stared at our newborn with regret.
True, you laugh light into our longing. A mother tells me: Early morning dreams are premonitions.
What premonition is it to long to see (the Earth); what regret is it to birth another into this longing?
Impossible resources.
But how early was it—the morning—the bouquet making-root in a sorry vase.
I am not one for intentional form, but maybe, babe—should we freeze our eggs?


You strongarm the wheelbarrow. Not me. Exoskeletal flora deflated like a dead birthday party.
Our cat pounces crickets from the limit of her tangled leash.
We leash because patriarchy. We leash because to verge leans always toward. Too toward.
Watch children! The slow or empty road. The crows’ luxury of carrion.
Today, I am wearing your pants and you are wearing mine—Sapphic! I crouch
to the earth of our verge—any keen beast knows what, there, next opens: Our raked plot effluvial.
But we know soil is all foreshadow. Fingers subtext glove-fingers, floral print—
syntax is the bacteria of desire.
Our hose froze broken—leaks, screeching—so we bear the water in cans.


We bare the water in cans and unload bagged soil from the bed. Our verge leans luxury. We’ll feast
on the effulgence of dinnerplate dahlias. But it’s early spring and I’m already
anxious about regretting labor.
We could fail the future, babe—do you, too, feel our potential
is a meaning leaning too much, too toward, swaying with unhinged grief—Why
do we labor the rearrangement of this plot?
Twist earthful effluvium. Difficult to tell your pants from mine.
We stare back the setting sun: love, a premonition of night foreshadowed
in light’s velvet ash.
Deliver me bulbs from the peatmoss of our winter-keep; I’ll strongarm
their tunicate survival—divulge!—as if it were nutrient reek of our own flesh, own whet nerve.

Copyright © 2023 by Serena Chopra. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 16, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Whenever I feel loss or lack, I imagine 
The wind roaming outside of my childhood’s lair
—as I am a child again, with my red knapsack 
bouncing lightly on my back— 
Beckoning me to run to it, into its slurry white expanse . . .
And in my heart, I am already on my way 
To some thrilling future 
Which is not yet weak and diluted with a lonely pain.
There, I am someone who wishes to be 
An exception and I am. A third and ringing note 
Edges the banal alternatives of 
Yes, and No. A lyric possibility rises 
Everywhere and at once, a thousand roses—allusive, corrosive.
Think how much you must change. Even more than you dare.

Copyright © 2023 by Sandra Lim. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 1, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

As spring enters this land of rivers and lakes,
    without reason I feel mad delight.
In festive mood, a banquet is laid
    of freshly caught fish and country wines.
This body’s leisure is a debt
    we owe to our great king.

This poem is in the public domain. The Ever White Mountain; Korean Lyrics in the Classical Sijo Form (Rutland, Vt., Tuttle, 1965).

A blue-bell springs upon the ledge,
A lark sits singing in the hedge;
Sweet perfumes scent the balmy air,
And life is brimming everywhere.
What lark and breeze and bluebird sing,
    Is Spring, Spring, Spring!

No more the air is sharp and cold;
The planter wends across the wold,
And, glad, beneath the shining sky
We wander forth, my love and I.
And ever in our hearts doth ring
    This song of Spring, Spring!

For life is life and love is love,
'Twixt maid and man or dove and dove.
Life may be short, life may be long,
But love will come, and to its song
Shall this refrain for ever cling
    Of Spring, Spring, Spring!

This poem is in the public domain. 

It's an earth song,—
And I've been waiting long for an earth song. 
It's a spring song,—
And I've been waiting long for a spring song. 
    Strong as the shoots of a new plant 
    Strong as the bursting of new buds
    Strong as the coming of the first child from its mother's womb. 
It's an earth song, 
A body song, 
A spring song, 
I have been waiting long for this spring song. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

O day—if I could cup my hands and drink of you,
And make this shining wonder be
A part of me!
O day! O day!
You lift and sway your colors on the sky
Till I am crushed with beauty. Why is there
More of reeling sunlit air
Than I can breathe? Why is there sound
In silence? Why is a singing wound
About each hour?
And perfume when there is no flower?
O day! O Day! How may I press
Nearer to loveliness?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 22, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.