is a field 

             as long as the butterflies say 

                                                                       it is a field 

with their flight

                                         it takes a long time 

to see

                         like light or sound or language

                                                                                      to arrive

and keep 

                                       we have more

than six sense dialect

                                                                      and i

am still

              adjusting to time

                              the distance and its permanence

i have found my shortcuts

                             and landmarks

                                                          to place

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.