is a field
as long as the butterflies say
it is a field
with their flight
it takes a long time
like light or sound or language
we have more
than six sense dialect
adjusting to time
the distance and its permanence
i have found my shortcuts
where i first took form
in the field
Copyright © 2022 by Marwa Helal. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 3, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
and you used to be The Richard Bey Show
and my sister’s spaghetti. Under a friar plum tree,
a simplified reading of “The Argonautica.”
You kept me full and entertained. I was that kind
of round child. Gorging on what was left over.
I didn’t want a real burden, my own ship or story.
I didn’t want to go on ahead. I didn’t want to
have to reverse into you. Into your apparatus.
I never wanted nostalgia. We used to know each other,
remember? Dry. Humid. Dry. Humid.
Not. Humid. Dry. Humid. Dry. Humid. Dry.
Why did we have to pry open our patch of dirt?
Why couldn’t you always be acid wash
or those I CAN’T DRIVE 55 posters at the swap meet
or sunglasses. I never wanted to lay questions around
you. What if he takes another this year? What if
he’s difficult to talk my way out of? What if he eats me
only half-alive? What if all he is in his beach bum
orange is ghosts clothespinned to the laundry line?
Copyright © 2023 by Gustavo Hernandez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 8, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo, or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names,
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum—
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular name.
From Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Copyright © 1939 by T. S. Eliot, renewed © 1967 by Esme Valerie Eliot. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.