:  when the nearest light is miles away yet 
                  and adorned on the night is a lightning bug
                                                                        as in a jarred cactus plant 
                                                      an open book without commas 

:  when the only thing you can touch is a plastic raft
                  and drenched between the hours is a cutting board
                                                                        as in a place for garlic 
                                                      and onions the face of early sky

:  when water undresses into tar sands
                  and to one long tune acacia trees dance some
                                                                        as in alder reach 
                                                      anything is worth the rain

:  when above more and more narrow miracles
                  and answers set to stone by a single hand
                                                                        as in a chorus of them
                                                      any shadow still means light

Copyright © 2023 by Jake Skeets. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 17, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Snow a celestial orchard in bloom,

mile after mile of pine and granite
clothed in an empire of silence.

We burned newspapers, a cord of wood, a bed frame
the squatters before us had left.

Mornings, our boots made tracks
beside the split moons of deer, the clawed prints of bear,

even as wind whittled it all away.
Some afternoons, there was sunlight through the windows

and we’d lie inside our zipped-together bags
moving like a legless shadow.

Nights, we heard wolves with the sky inside their throats.
No one but your friend knew where we were,

and he had driven us into the Rockies at dark,
saying, The nearest town is Netherland.

Meaning, you can't rescue astonishment
from a boy and girl lost inside the molten light of desire.

Imagine your first love as a road of crumbs
marking a path back to the awakened whole

and your future
as all the small, invisible hungers of this world      
devouring the trail.

Copyright © 2022 by Julia B. Levine. From Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight (LSU Press, 2014). Used with permission of the author.