After stepping into the world again,
there is that question of how to love, 
how to bundle yourself against the frosted morning—
the crunch of icy grass underfoot, the scrape 
of cold wipers along the windshield—
and convert time into distance. 

What song to sing down an empty road
as you begin your morning commute?
And is there enough in you to see, really see, 
the three wild turkeys crossing the street 
with their featherless heads and stilt-like legs
in search of a morning meal? Nothing to do 
but hunker down, wait for them to safely cross. 

As they amble away, you wonder if they want 
to be startled back into this world. Maybe you do, too, 
waiting for all this to give way to love itself, 
to look into the eyes of another and feel something— 
the pleasure of a new lover in the unbroken night, 
your wings folded around him, on the other side 
of this ragged January, as if a long sleep has ended.

Copyright © 2014 by January Gill O’Neil. Used with the permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 25, 2014.

W
I
T
H
I
N
endless space
in tiny explosions of gasoline
my consciousness hardens into a wall.
I AM SEPARATE
from plum blossoms and mountains: 
aching teeth become movies
as I grow
young again.

Dark hair
and eyebrows
S
W
I
R
L
in delighted delusion
BIG MEMORIES OF PLEASURE
enwrap a mind
as substantial

as

a
drift

of 
snowflakes

onto a warm hood;
and less intelligent
than the thin
black
spider in the morning sink
before breakfast time.

Your smile is my kindness
and it thrills me

HAVE

NEVER

BEEN 
SO 
REAL

before

From Mule Kick Blues and Last Poems by Michael McClure. Copyright © 2021 by the Michael T. McClure Estate. Reprinted with permission of City Lights Books. citylights.com.

We did not say much to each other but
we grinned,
            because this love was so good you sucked the
rib bones

and I licked my fingers like a cat.
Now I’m
            omniscient. I’m going to skip past
the hard

parts that go on for a very long time. Here’s the
future:
            I laugh, because the pleasure was earned
yet vouchsafed,

and I made room for what was dead past and what
yet didn’t
            exist. I was not always kind, but I
was clear.

Copyright © 2019 by Sandra Lim. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 12, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

"My sweet," you sang, and, "Sweet," I sang,
    And sweet we sang together,
Glad to be young as the world was young,
    Two colts too strong for a tether.

Shall ever a spring be like that spring,
    Or apple blossoms as white;
Or ever clover smell like the clover
    We lay upon that night?

Shall ever your hand lie in my hand,
    Pulsing to it, I wonder;
Or have the gods, being jealous gods,
    Envied us our thunder?

This poem is in the public domain. 

This much the gods vouchsafe today:
    That we two lie in the clover,
Watching the heavens dip and sway,
    With galleons sailing over.

This much is granted for an hour:
    That we are young and tender,
That I am bee and you are flower,
    Honey-mouthed and swaying slender.

This sweet of sweets is ours now:
    To wander through the land,
Plucking an apple from its bough
    To toss from hand to hand.

No thing is certain, joy nor sorrow,
    Except the hour we know it;
Oh, wear my heart today; tomorrow
    Who knows where the winds will blow it?

This poem is in the public domain. 

O, come, Love, let us take a walk,
Down the Way-of-Life together;
Storms may come, but what care we,
If be fair or foul the weather.

When the sky overhead is blue,
Balmy, scented winds will after
Us, adown the valley blow
Haunting echoes of our laughter.

When Life’s storms upon us beat
Crushing us with fury, after
All is done, there’ll ringing come
Mocking echoes of our laughter.

So we’ll walk the Way-of-Life,
You and I, Love, both together,
Storm or sunshine, happy we
If be foul or fair the weather.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 15, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

We two are left:
I with small grace reveal
distaste and bitterness;
you with small patience
take my hands;
though effortless,
you scald their weight
as a bowl, lined with embers,
wherein droop
great petals of white rose,
forced by the heat
too soon to break.

We two are left:
as a blank wall, the world,
earth and the men who talk,
saying their space of life
is good and gracious,
with eyes blank
as that blank surface
their ignorance mistakes
for final shelter
and a resting-place.

We two remain:
yet by what miracle,
searching within the tangles of my brain,
I ask again,
have we two met within
this maze of dædal paths
in-wound mid grievous stone,
where once I stood alone?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 19, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

We two are left:
I with small grace reveal
distaste and bitterness;
you with small patience
take my hands;
though effortless,
you scald their weight
as a bowl, lined with embers,
wherein droop
great petals of white rose,
forced by the heat
too soon to break.

We two are left:
as a blank wall, the world,
earth and the men who talk,
saying their space of life
is good and gracious,
with eyes blank
as that blank surface
their ignorance mistakes
for final shelter
and a resting-place.

We two remain:
yet by what miracle,
searching within the tangles of my brain,
I ask again,
have we two met within
this maze of dædal paths
in-wound mid grievous stone,
where once I stood alone?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 19, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

I loved you before I was born.
It doesn't make sense, I know.

I saw your eyes before I had eyes to see.
And I've lived longing 
for your ever look ever since.
That longing entered time as this body. 
And the longing grew as this body waxed.
And the longing grows as the body wanes.
The longing will outlive this body.

I loved you before I was born.
It doesn't make sense, I know.

Long before eternity, I caught a glimpse
of your neck and shoulders, your ankles and toes.
And I've been lonely for you from that instant.
That loneliness appeared on earth as this body. 
And my share of time has been nothing 
but your name outrunning my ever saying it clearly. 
Your face fleeing my ever
kissing it firmly once on the mouth.

In longing, I am most myself, rapt,
my lamp mortal, my light 
hidden and singing. 

I give you my blank heart.
Please write on it
what you wish. 

From The Undressing: Poems by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2018 by Li-Young Lee. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.