Every morning you'd think
all the moths would throw themselves
into the Sun.
But they wait
to consume them
in small coughs
I have stopped
listening to my moth soul.
My dear, I am done
tilting at streetlights.
My paper wings soar,
your blazing heart.
Copyright © 2006 by Matt Mason. From Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know (The Backwaters Press, 2006). Used with the permission of the poet.
not back, let’s not come back, let’s go by the speed of
queer zest & stay up
there & get ourselves a little
moon cottage (so pretty), then start a moon garden
with lots of moon veggies (so healthy), i mean
i was already moonlighting
as an online moonologist
most weekends, so this is the immensely
logical next step, are you
packing your bags yet, don’t forget your
sailor moon jean jacket, let’s wear
our sailor moon jean jackets while twirling in that lighter,
queerer moon gravity, let’s love each other
(so good) on the moon, let’s love
on the moon
Copyright © 2021 by Chen Chen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 31, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
The dead are for morticians & butchers to touch. Only a gloved hand. Even my son will leave a grounded wren or bat alone like a hot stove. When he spots a monarch in the driveway he stares. It’s dead, I say, you can touch it. The opposite rule: butterflies are too fragile to hold alive, just the brush of skin could rip a wing. He skims the orange & black whorls with only two fingers, the way he learned to feel the backs of starfish & horseshoe crabs at the zoo, the way he thinks we touch all strangers. I was sad to be born, he tells me, because it means I will die. I once loved someone I never touched. We played records & drank coffee from chipped bowls, but didn’t speak of the days pierced by radiation. A friend said: Let her pretend. She needs one person who doesn’t know. If I held her, I would have left bruises, if I undressed her, I would have seen scars, so we never touched & she never had to say she was dying. We should hold each other more while we are still alive, even if it hurts. People really die of loneliness, skin hunger the doctors call it. In a study on love, baby monkeys were given a choice between a wire mother with milk & a wool mother with none. Like them, I would choose to starve & hold the soft body.
Copyright © 2019 by Robin Beth Schaer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 9, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
someone asked me if my husband left me, or if I left him. After
the reading, someone asked me if there was a chance for
reconciliation as I shoved a pulled pork sandwich in my mouth
with Carolina Gold BBQ sauce oozing out the sides like neon
yellow lava. After the reading, someone asked me if I still pray
to God as I sipped a fizzy Diet Coke and the ice cubes huddled
and softly clinked around my upper lip leaving a wet mustache.
After the reading, someone said they had been divorced too and
then scurried away in a way that I completely understood. After
the reading, a woman told me I was worthy as if I was shattered
while I picked up crudités with a copious dollop of ranch
dressing. After the reading, a white woman thanked me for my
“angry poems.” I told her they were about my joy, and then she
touched my forearm and said, “No, they were about my rage.”
Insisting. After the reading, someone said they cried, and
another gave me a kind word. Thank you. After the after, I went
home and changed into my cheetah print pajamas. I wrapped my
hair and brushed my teeth. I got in bed and played a sci-fi show
on my laptop. The actors on the show were trying to find a way
to talk to aliens by using math and pheromones. I googled the
height of one of the actors. He is 6' 4". I fell asleep while
watching the show about the people in space trying to
communicate in first contact, intergalactic noises beeped and
swirled around the room like bees.
Copyright © 2023 by Tiana Clark. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 13, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.