after Iris Cushing

There is no empire in nerve. 
When I come home, I roam the map. 
My cursor lands on Truth or Consequences, 
and I read facts about Titanic till I’m blue. 

When I come home I’ve roamed the map. 
I tell my love what I have done Wyoming. 
The facts stack up titanic and I blue.
I don’t know what I love now, he tells me. 

I’ve done it, told my love Wyoming. 
Bit the corner off a dumpling before cooking. 
I don’t know if I love you, I should say.  
I want to see if there’s a mark left later. 

I bit the corner off this dumb thing. 
What was left behind and then uncovered? 
I want to see the mark that I felt later. 
When I got home my love was thinned obscure. 

Left behind and then uncovered, 
by noon the moon had taken the blue stage. 
My homeland, love, has been obscured, smeared
into surrounding states. Grass was growing greener. 

By two the moon had exited the stage. 
I preen into my screen and blue but I am gone. 
Grass was growing green where I should be,
bared beneath the briefly darkening desert. 

I preen into a blue screen where I’ve gone, 
a darkened noon, Wyoming under shadow,  
briefly spared beneath the blackening desert, 
an earth threaded with crescent meaning. 

At noon Wyoming slides from under shadow. 
I want to pull the fabric back, to see the other cloth. 
The threads I tend with meaning: 
dirt on my head, I should die, I would say. 

I pulled the fabric back and saw the other cloth. 
Beneath us is a net of empire sewn with nerve. 
Dirt in my mouth, I will die. 
I asked you for your weather, then your liver.

Copyright © 2022 by Tracy Fuad. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 8, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

It is dusk on the Lost Lagoon,
And we two dreaming the dusk away,
Beneath the drift of a twilight grey—
Beneath the drowse of an ending day
And the curve of a golden moon.

It is dark on the Lost Lagoon,
And gone are the depths of haunting blue,
The grouping gulls, and the old canoe,
The singing firs, and the dusk and—you,
And gone is the golden moon.

O lure of the Lost Lagoon—
I dream to-night that my paddle blurs
The purple shade where the seaweed stirs—
I hear the call of the singing firs
In the hush of the golden moon.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 20, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

But then there comes that moment rare
When, for no cause that I can find,
The little voices of the air
Sound above all the sea and wind.

The sea and wind do then obey
And sighing, sighing double notes
Of double basses, content to play
A droning chord for the little throats—

The little throats that sing and rise
Up into the light with lovely ease
And a kind of magical, sweet surprise
To hear and know themselves for these—

For these little voices: the bee, the fly,
The leaf that taps, the pod that breaks,
The breeze on the grass-tops bending by,
The shrill quick sound that the insect makes.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Once there was an opening, an operation: out of which oared the ocean, then oyster and oystercatcher, opal and opal-crowned tanager. From ornateness came the ornate flycatcher and ornate fruit dove. From oil, the oilbird. O is for opus, the Orphean warbler’s octaves, the oratorio of orioles. O for the osprey’s ostentation, the owl and its collection of ossicles. In October’s ochre, the orchard is overgrown with orange and olive, oleander and oxlip. Ovals of dew on the oatgrass. O for obsidian, onyx, ore, for boreholes like inverted obelisks. O for the onion’s concentric O’s, observable only when cut, for the opium oozing from the poppy’s globe only when scored. O for our organs, for the os of the cervix, the double O’s of the ovaries plotted on the body’s plane to mark the origin. O is the orbit that cradles the eye. The oculus opens an O to the sky, where the starry outlines of men float like air bubbles between us and oblivion. Once there were oarfish, opaleyes, olive flounders. Once the oxbows were not overrun with nitrogen. O for the mussels opening in the ocean’s oven. O for the rising ozone, the dropping oxygen, for algae overblooming like an omen or an oracle. O Earth, out-gunned and out-manned. O who holds the void inside itself. O who has made orphans of our hands.

Copyright © 2020 by Claire Wahmanholm. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 2, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

Some people presume to be hopeful
when there is no evidence for hope,
to be happy when there is no cause.
Let me say now, I’m with them.

In deep darkness on a cold twig
in a dangerous world, one first
little fluff lets out a peep, a warble,
a song—and in a little while, behold:

the first glimmer comes, then a glow
filters through the misty trees,
then the bold sun rises, then
everyone starts bustling about.

And that first crazy optimist, can we
forgive her for thinking, dawn by dawn,
“Hey, I made that happen!
And oh, life is so fine.”

Copyright © 2022 by Kim Stafford. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 27, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Upon the silent sea-swept land
     The dreams of night fall soft and gray,
          The waves fade on the jeweled sand
               Like some lost hope of yesterday.

The dreams of night fall soft and gray
     Upon the summer-colored seas,
          Like some lost hope of yesterday,
               The sea-mew’s song is on the breeze.

Upon the summer-colored seas
     Sails gleam and glimmer ghostly white,
          The sea-mew’s song is on the breeze
               Lost in the monotone of night.

Sails gleam and glimmer ghostly white,
     They come and slowly drift away,
          Lost in the monotone of night,
               Like visions of a summer-day.

They shift and slowly drift away
     Like lovers’ lays that wax and wane,
          The visions of a summer-day
               Whose dreams we ne’er will dream again.

Like lovers’ lays wax and wane
     The star dawn shifts from sail to sail,
          Like dreams we ne’er will dream again;
               The sea-mews follow on their trail.

The star dawn shifts from sail to sail,
     As they drift to the dim unknown,
          The sea-mews follow on their trail
               In quest of some dreamland zone.

In quest of some far dreamland zone,
     Of some far silent sea-swept land,
          They are lost in the dim unknown,
               Where waves fade on jeweled sand
                    And dreams of night fall soft and gray,
                         Like some lost hope of yesterday.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on May 14, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Being asked to move into time 
To places wishes and daydreams 
Into rivets and seams
Being asked to move back into categorical understandings of regrets
In order to fight against disintegration 
Carrying a placeholder for liminal spectrums
Reading somersaults into lecture
Move me, unmove me
place me unto y’all’s metaphoric understanding 
of the dreams which have yet been realized
Wish unto me, unfurl around, open
Gasp gasp gasp 
Cry out, there are ways of understanding 
that leave indelible marks onto membrane surfaces

We should all be so lucky to exist 
To not function
The eyes, cease to work
The throat struggles to open
The ears seek love remarks
The skin wrinkles 
to make space 
for the grandchildren we wish into the future
Au Revoir, my love: 
you have my best 
and my sword to cut through the meat of life. 
Hopefully, you have a better grip than me.
Hello long love, 
I seek you out 
amongst the fleshy cavernous walls where memory lies.

Copyright © 2022 by Jasmine Gibson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 13, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Like the sweet apple which reddens upon the topmost bough,
A-top on the topmost twig, which the pluckers forgot, somehow,—
Forgot it not, nay, but got it not, for none could get it till now.

Like the wild hyacinth flower which on the hills is found.
Which the passing feet of the shepherds for ever tear and wound,
Until the purple blossom is trodden into the ground.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 12, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.