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 permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 25, 2014.
Morning’s a new bird
stirring against me
out of a quiet nest,
coming to flight—
clean as clear water,
mystery and mountain,
Copyright @ 2014 by Annie Finch. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on June 20, 2014.
Love comes quietly,
about me, on me,
in the old ways.
What did I know
able to go
alone all the way.
From For Love: Poems. Copyright © 1962 by Robert Creeley. Used with permission of the Estate of Robert Creeley and The Permissions Company.
That Mississippi chicken shack. That initial-scarred tabletop, that tiny little dance floor to the left of the band. That kiosk at the mall selling caramels and kitsch. That tollbooth with its white-plastic-gloved worker handing you your change. That phone booth with the receiver ripped out. That dressing room in the fetish boutique, those curtains and mirrors. That funhouse, that horror, that soundtrack of screams. That putti-filled heaven raining gilt from the ceiling. That haven for truckers, that bottomless cup. That biome. That wilderness preserve. That landing strip with no runway lights where you are aiming your plane, imagining a voice in the tower, imagining a tower.
From Lucifer at the Starlite, published by W. W. Norton & Company. Copyright © 2010 by Kim Addonizio. Used with permission of the publisher.
The Lindt Easter bunny
you said was “solid”
chocolate turned out
to be hollow—its head
caved in when I peeled
back the gold foil
which was probably
better left wrapped,
every language having
its own version of “beer
I like your mouth best
when there’s nothing in it,
just two rows of teeth
surrounding a tongue
stunned into silence.
Copyright © 2018 Timothy Liu. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Spring 2018.
I am taken with the hot animal
of my skin, grateful to swing my limbs
and have them move as I intend, though
my knee, though my shoulder, though something
is torn or tearing. Today, a dozen squid, dead
on the harbor beach: one mostly buried,
one with skin empty as a shell and hollow
feeling, and, though the tentacles look soft,
I do not touch them. I imagine they
were startled to find themselves in the sun.
I imagine the tide simply went out
without them. I imagine they cannot
feel the black flies charting the raised hills
of their eyes. I write my name in the sand:
Donika Kelly. I watch eighteen seagulls
skim the sandbar and lift low in the sky.
I pick up a pebble that looks like a green egg.
To the ditch lily I say I am in love.
To the Jeep parked haphazardly on the narrow
street I am in love. To the roses, white
petals rimmed brown, to the yellow lined
pavement, to the house trimmed in gold I am
in love. I shout with the rough calculus
of walking. Just let me find my way back,
let me move like a tide come in.
Copyright © 2017 by Donika Kelly. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 20, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
Four lanes over, a plump helium heart— slipped, maybe, from some kid’s wrist or a rushed lover’s empty passenger seat through a half-cracked car window— rises like a shiny purple cloudlet toward today’s gray mess of clouds, trailing its gold ribbon like lightning that will never strike anything or anyone here on the forsaken ground, its bold LOVE increasingly illegible as it ascends over the frozen oaks, riding swift currents toward the horizon, a swollen word wobbling out of sight.
Copyright © 2006 Michael McFee. From Shinemaster (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006) by Michael McFee. Used with permission of the author.
Ours is a partial language part pantomime,
part grimy guesswork: adulterated speculation
as to meaning & motivation.
Translated, heart suggests a familiar, universal
device but internal chemistries vary—
though components be the same & not uncommon.
The world owes us nothing. It promises less.
Call it: freedom. Free will. Or Wednesday.
Copyright © 2016 Rangi McNeil. Used with permission of the author.