I found you and I lost you, 
   All on a gleaming day. 
The day was filled with sunshine,
   And the land was full of May. 

A golden bird was singing
   Its melody divine, 
I found you and I loved you, 
   And all the world was mine. 

I found you and I lost you, 
   All on a golden day, 
But when I dream of you, dear, 
   It is always brimming May.

This poem is in the public domain. 

What kind of thoughts now, do you carry
   In your travels day by day
Are they bright and lofty visions, 
   Or neglected, gone astray?

Matters not how great in fancy, 
    Or what deeds of skill you’ve wrought; 
Man, though high may be his station, 
    Is no better than his thoughts. 

Catch your thoughts and hold them tightly, 
   Let each one an honor be; 
Purge them, scourge them, burnish brightly, 
   Then in love set each one free. 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 18, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

a hand made out of all that it touched—
fingers of syringes packed with soiled
polyester blankets nails cut from

a plastic bottle cap knuckles
shaped by rinds of other knuckles
and details layered in delicate ash—

ruddy, colorful, clothed. But the left,
flesh and grey, poured like the concrete
surrounding it and sanded at the edges

careful as geometry allows with
dried skin creeping through contours.
Naked hands. Beating knuckles on the ground

wondering will it crack the concrete finally
will it crumble under opposing forces—
material, economy as simple as concrete

is simple, simple to explain but difficult
to understand without explanation.
As plates in our deep crust skid past

one another. One might wonder who
thinks to pour a building of mostly
liquid. Such is the logic of conviction

we are told before the terms are defined.
Dysfunction of episodic memory.
Episode of memory of dysfunction.

Hands that are not our hands.
And so convinced are we of
our own demise we devise it.

Copyright © 2020 by Zoë Hitzig. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 1, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

I put on again the vest of many pockets.

It is easy to forget
which holds the reading glasses,
which the small pen,
which the house keys,
the compass and whistle, the passport.

To forget at last for weeks
even the pocket holding the day
of digging a place for my sister’s ashes,
the one holding the day
where someone will soon enough put my own.

To misplace the pocket
of touching the walls at Auschwitz
would seem impossible.
It is not.

To misplace, for a decade,
the pocket of tears.

I rummage and rummage—
for Munich, for Melbourne,
to Oslo.
A receipt for a Singapore kopi.
A device holding music:
Bach, Garcia, Richter, Porter, Pärt.

A woman long dead now
gave me, when I told her I could not sing,
a kazoo.
Now in a pocket.

Somewhere, a pocket
holding a Steinway.
Somewhere, a pocket
holding a packet of salt.

Borgesian vest,
Oxford English Dictionary vest
with a magnifying glass
tucked inside one snapped-closed pocket,
Wikipedia vest, Rosetta vest,
Enigma vest of decoding,
how is it one person can carry
your weight for a lifetime,
one person
slip into your open arms for a lifetime?

Who was given the world,
and hunted for tissues, for chapstick.


From Ledger (Knopf, 2020). First appeared in The Times Literary Supplement. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Just a rainy day or two
In a windy tower,
That was all I had of you—
Saving half an hour.

Marred by greeting passing groups
In a cinder walk,
Near some naked blackberry hoops
Dim with purple chalk.

I remember three or four
Things you said in spite,
And an ugly coat you wore,
Plaided black and white.

Just a rainy day or two
And a bitter word.
Why do I remember you
As a singing bird?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 25, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.