What if the submarine
is praying for a way
it can poison the air,
in which some of them have
leaped for a few seconds,
felt its suffocating
Something floats above their
known world leading a wake
of uncountable death.
What if they organized
into a rebellion?
Now scientists have found
a group of octopuses
who seem to have a sense
of community, who
live in dwellings made of
gathered pebbles and shells,
who cooperate, who
defend an apparent
border. Perhaps they’ll have
a plan for the planet
in a millennium
or two. After we’re gone.
Copyright © 2019 by Marilyn Nelson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 20, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
Slender as my ring finger, the female hummingbird crashed
into plate glass separating her and me
before we could ask each other’s name. Green flame,
she launched from a dead eucalyptus limb.
Almost on impact, she was gone, her needle beak
opening twice to speak the abrupt language of her going,
taking in the day’s rising heat as I took
one more scalding breath, horrified by death’s velocity.
Too weak from chemo not to cry
for the passage of her emerald shine,
I lifted her weightlessness into my palm.
Mourning doves moaned, who, who,
oh who while her wings closed against the tiny body
sky would quick forget as soon as it would forget mine
Copyright © 2020 by Pamela Uschuk. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 15, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.