was no consolation to the woman
whose husband was strung out on opioids.

Gone to a better place: useless and suspect intel
for the couple at their daughter’s funeral

though there are better places to be
than a freezing church in February, standing

before a casket with a princess motif. 
Some moments can’t be eased

and it’s no good offering clichés like stale
meat to a tiger with a taste for human suffering.

When I hear the word miracle I want to throw up
on a platter of deviled eggs. Everything happens

for a reason: more good tidings someone will try
to trepan your skull to insert. When fire

inhales your house, you don’t care what the haiku says
about seeing the rising moon. You want

an avalanche to bury you. You want to lie down
under a slab of snow, dumb as a jarred

sideshow embryo. What a circus.
The tents dismantled, the train moving on,

always moving, starting slow and gaining speed,
taking you where you never wanted to go.

Copyright © 2024 by Kim Addonizio. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 12, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

If I had known that the cup of chai 
my mother asked me, a drifter 
in the kitchen, to make her 
that afternoon, which I 
having blended water and milk 
in such strange ratios 
that when reduced and strained
the tea came up 
to barely one trisection of my pinkie
(that cup was the driest well I saw, 
the lowest tide) so to cover my blunder
I poured raw tap water to flood her cup 
and fled her room before she could 
collect her body, bring lip to saucer, 
had I known that the pale, putrid mess 
I presented, was after all, the only and 
last cup of tea I’d ever make her
would I have suddenly been 
granted the culinary wisdom to brew 
instead the pot with sprigs of lemongrass,
a pod of cardamom, perhaps even 
a prestigious thread of saffron
that I’d sneak from the silver hexagonal box 
she kept hidden behind the airtight jars 
of pricey nuts, and bring her
a creamy drink of complex caffeine, even
make some magnanimous promise 
of offering her tea on tap till she lived 
but knowing me, I know I’d have just 
continued being the spectacular failure I was 
that day, shit-talking my every inability 
out of her sight, embarrassed by failure, 
afraid of consequence and knowing her, 
she would have creased her nose 
at first, then continued to descend 
on the plate with the hopeful pull 
of her slurp, stubborn as she was, 
not willing to peg one finite judgement
of adulation or derision— 
on the cup she was served

Copyright © 2024 by Preeti Vangani. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 5, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

As he holds his wife’s hand, the nurse tells him to
breathe. He will be a good father. He 
could be. His wife tows a boat on land with her teeth. 
Don’t worry. Good father. Breathe. Later,
everyone smiles when he jogs with the stroller. He 
feigns interest in ponies. He pushes a swing and his daughter
giggles. He applies sunblock, and 
helps warm the bottle, and he is
inducted into the fatherly hall of fame. He 
jumps on the trampoline, and the chorus sings Good Father. He wipes
ketchup off her cheek at the zoo, and the old women 
laud. He is told he is a new breed of
man. Evolved. His knuckles just barely or
never scraping the ground. He hugs
often enough, packs her lunch, and the crowd 
pours on the applause. He lays her down for 
quiet time. It goes somewhat well. 
Rejoice, the people shout, for here is a
saint, as he lifts diapers to the conveyor belt.
Truthfully, he feels slightly
unwell. A bowl of plastic fruit is pretty, but 
vaguely toxic. He sleeps fine
without a mouth affixed to his chest. His bottle of
Xanax is half full. The nurse says,
You will be a good father. He jogs with the stroller. He reaches the
zenith of a very small hill. 

Copyright © 2024 by Keith Leonard. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 4, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

to Mary Rose

Here is our little yard  

too small            for a pool  
or chickens   let alone 

a game of tag or touch 
football       Then 

again   this stub-  
born patch  

of crabgrass  is just 
big enough      to get down  

flat on our backs 
with eyes wide open    and face 

the whole gray sky  just 
as a good drizzle 

begins                   I know  
we’ve had a monsoon  

of grieving to do  
which is why  

I promise    to lie 
beside you  

for as long as you like  
or need  

We’ll let our elbows 
kiss     under the downpour  

until we’re soaked  
like two huge nets  
                    left  

beside the sea  
whose heavy old

ropes strain  
stout with fish 

If we had to     we could  
feed a multitude  

with our sorrows  
If we had to  

we could name   a loss  
for every other  

drop of rain   All these  
foreign flowers 

you plant from pot  
to plot  

with muddy fingers  
—passion, jasmine, tuberose—  

we’ll sip 
the dew from them  

My darling                here
is the door I promised  

Here
is our broken bowl Here  

                        my hands  
In the home of our dreams  

the windows open  
in every  

weather—doused  
or dry—May we never  

be so parched 

Copyright © 2024 by Patrick Rosal. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.