Every morning you'd think
all the moths would throw themselves
into the Sun.

But they wait
for streetlights
to consume them

in small coughs
of sparkle.
My dear,

my dear,
my dear:
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 
the moon        
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.