is the sound of me thinking
in a language stolen from my
ancestors. I can’t tell you who the
first slave in my family was, but we
are the last. Descendants
of the sun. Rye skinned
and vibrant, wailing to
a sailing tomb. We twist
creoled tongues. Make English
a song worth singing. You erase
our history and call it freedom.
Take our flesh and call it fashion.
Swallow nations and call it
humanity. We so savage
we let you live. 
           I can’t tell you who the first slave
in my family was, but we remember
the bodies.   Our bodies remember.
We are their favorite melody. Beat
into bucket. Broken
into cardboard covered
concrete. Shaken
into Harlem. The getting over
never begins, but there
is always the get down. Our DNA
sheet music humming
at the bottom
of the ocean.

Copyright © 2021 by Roya Marsh. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 15, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

I try a new way of imagining people 
as dogs
as dogs it makes sense 
why anyone would be drawn to do anything 
just as dogs rub themselves 
in patches of grass
or suddenly lick a face

as dogs you can surely forgive
your mother
because she makes a funny dog
with frilly fur and worried eyes
and as a dog, is it so bad 
you spend so much time
recalling a certain smell
or staring too long and too intently
at a torn leaf in a hot tub 

a dog falls ill and says nothing
over time, they destroy the things they love

picture whoever is giving you trouble 
or whatever part of you desires more than it has
then see a dog 
pulling against the chain gripping his neck
or barely moving under a bench
watch the dog run away from everything it knows
do you blame them?

Copyright © 2021 by Rachel B. Glaser. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 25, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

When we two parted
   In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
   To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
   Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
   Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
   Sunk chill on my brow— 
It felt like the warning
   Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
   And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
   And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
   A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me—
   Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
   Who knew thee too well—
Long, long shall I rue thee,
   Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
   In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
   Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
   After long years,
How should I greet thee?—
   With silence and tears.

This poem is in the public domain.