To forgive one’s life love for dying, pick the long, feather-like, crimson flowers in early spring, when the desert is in bloom. Boil in river water only. Let cool. Drink at once. Drink when waking, at noon, and at bedtime each day for three full weeks thereafter. If resentment persists, go to your beloved’s grave daily and pray for forgiveness until sound sleep and appetite return.


My last days
May they pass

slow as black smoke
goes father’s

only prayer
of late

No I’m certain

that he stole it
from Adam I’m sure

who first
uttered it

just outside
the Garden

the first night he
spent alone

Copyright © 2020 by Tommy Archuleta. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 2, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

My   Father’s   Frontal    Lobe—died
unpeacefully of a stroke on June 24,
2009 at Scripps  Memorial Hospital in
San Diego, California.  Born January 20,
1940, the frontal lobe enjoyed a good
life.  The frontal  lobe  loved being  the
boss.  It tried to talk again but someone
put a bag over it.  When the frontal
lobe died, it sucked in its lips like a
window pulled shut.  At the funeral for
his words, my father wouldn’t stop
talking and his love passed through me,
fell onto the ground that wasn’t there. 
I could hear someone stomping their
feet.  The body is as confusing as
language—was his frontal lobe having a
tantrum or dancing?  When I took my
father’s phone away, his words died in
the plastic coffin.  At the funeral for his
words, we argued about my
miscarriage. It’s not really a baby, he
said.  I ran out of words, stomped out
to shake the dead baby awake.  I
thought of the tech who put the wand
down, quietly left the room when she
couldn’t find the heartbeat.  I
understood then that darkness is falling
without an end.  That darkness is not
the absorption of color but the
absorption of language.

Copyright © 2020 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 3, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

My throat is dry [   ] a drowsy numbness pains [   ] my sense as though [   ] obscured by smoke [   ] I drive on roads dividing patchwork farmland, fences [   ] wide-eyed llamas [   ] perpetual surprise [   ] after a dream, I sip water in the dark [   ] I don’t want to sleep [   ] my husband breathing deeply [   ] my children twisting in their beds [   ] smoke rising from the fields [   ] end of harvest razing [   ] I lift the rock, find a family of woodlice [   ] curled away from me [   ] sleeping or pretending to sleep [   ] hemlock lacing the road’s shoulders [   ] my too-dry eyes [   ] the tender babies are paler [   ] than their parents, little ghosts [   ] rolled in on themselves, my children are sleeping [   ] when I lift the blanket [   ] when, after a dream, I smoke in the dark [   ] no bird singing [   ] nothing to ode [   ] the sharp scent of pine, wet soil, beast musk, rain [   ] the dull opiate of things [   ] what will outlive us [   ] I turn on the screen [   ] a panel of men in a void, screaming [   ] cornflowers curling into rust [   ] I breathe in smoke [   ] fists curled shut [   ] the green of marijuana fields [   ] the pungent scent of [   ] bodies curled in sleep [   ] as if sleep were a cure [   ] one minute past, and Lethe-wards [   ] hear that crackling? [   ] pine cones dropping like heavy flames [   ] glaciers splitting [   ] howling ghosts [   ] what earth will be left for [   ] my children cry out in their sleep [   ] dark room filling with the smoke I exhale [   ] hills roiling [   ] the screaming stays while the screen goes dark [   ] I can’t see it disappearing [   ] to thy high requiem [   ] my throat is dry [   ] do I wake or sleep? [   ] I don’t want to wake

Copyright © 2020 by Danielle Cadena Deulen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 4, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

For years had anyone needed me
to spell the word commiserate

I’d have disappointed them. I envy
people who are more excited

by etymology than I am, but not
the ones who can explain how

music works—I wonder whether
the critic who wrote

that the Cocteau Twins were the voice
of god still believes it. Why not,

what else would god sound like.
Even though I know better, when I see

the word misericordia I still think
suffering, not forgiveness;

when we commiserate we are united
not in mercy but in misery,

so let’s go ahead and call this abscess
of history the Great Commiseration.

The difference
between affliction and affection

is a flick, a lick—but check
again, what lurks in the letters

is “lie,” and what kind of luck
is that. As the years pile up

our friends become more vocal
about their various damages:

Won’t you let me monetize
your affliction, says my friend

the corporation. When I try to enter
the name of any city

it autocorrects to Forever:
I’m spending a week in Forever,

Forever was hotter than ever
this year, Forever’s expensive

but oh the museums,
and all of its misery’s ours.

Copyright © 2020 by Mark Bibbins. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 5, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

Bliss—right now:
beneath a blue jade
vine’s beaded bangs,

my sonar function
asleep, the I unstressed,
a syllable glided over.

(Except wherever
in the line it’s placed,
the I is stressed.)

Behind me, a lipstick palm.
In front of me, the early
stages of sunrise,

the world before
highlighter’s applied.

Copyright © 2020 by Carol Moldaw. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 6, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

I thought I could stop
time by taking apart
the clock. Minute hand. Hour hand.

Nothing can keep. Nothing
is kept. Only kept track of. I felt

passing seconds
accumulate like dead calves
in a thunderstorm

of the mind no longer a mind
but a page torn
from the dictionary with the definition of self

effaced. I couldn’t face it: the world moving

on as if nothing happened.
Everyone I knew got up. Got dressed.
Went to work. Went home.

There were parties. Ecstasy.
Hennessy. Dancing
around each other. Bluntness. Blunts

rolled to keep
thought after thought
from roiling

like wind across water—
coercing shapelessness into shape.

I put on my best face.
I was glamour. I was grammar.

Yet my best couldn’t best my beast.

I, too, had been taken apart.
I didn’t want to be
fixed. I wanted everything dismantled and useless

like me. Case. Wheel. Hands. Dial. Face.

Copyright © 2020 by Paul Tran. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 9, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

        for Jericho, with thanks to Carl Phillips

I like men who are cruel to me;
men who know how I will end;
men who, when they touch me,
fasten their shadows to my neck
then get out my face when certain
they haven’t much use for being seen.
I like men to be cruel to me.
Any men who build their bodies into
widths of doors I only walk through
once will do. There’s a difference
between entrances and exits I don’t
have much use for now. I’ve seen
what’s left behind after a hawk
has seized a smaller bird midair.
The feathers lay circled in prattle
with rotting crab apples, grasses passing
between the entrances and exits
of clover. The raptor, somewhere
over it, over it. Cruelty where?
The hell would grief go in a goshawk?
It’s enough to risk the open field,
its rotten crab apples, grasses passing
out like lock-kneed mourners in sun.
There I was, scoping, scavenging
the damage to drag mystery out of
a simple read: two animals wanted
life enough to risk the open field
and one of them took what it hunted.
Each one tells me he wants me
vulnerable. I already wrote that book.
The body text cleaved to the spine,
simple to read as two animals wanting
to see inside each other and one
pulling back a wing to offer—See?
Here—the fastest way in or out
and you knew how it would end.
You cleaved the body text to the spine
cause you read closely. You clock damage.
It was a door you walked through once
before pivoting toward a newer image of risk.

Copyright © 2020 by Justin Phillip Reed. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

The way that the sea fails

to drown itself everyday. And entendre alludes all those not listening.

The way unfertilized chicken eggs fail to have imagination,
           dozened out in their cardboard trays,

by which I mean they will never break

from the inside. The way my imagination (née anxiety) has
           bad brakes and a need

to stop sometimes. The way I didn’t believe

it when he told me we were going to crash into the car idling
           at a red light

ahead of us. To know our future like that seemed unlikely.
           But to have time to tell me?

—Nearly impossible. I may have broken
           several ribs that day

but I will never know for sure. I’m okay,

I guessed aloud to the paramedic. It doesn’t matter
           if you’re broken if you’re broke,

I moaned in bed that night, after several glasses
           of cheap red. I thought it would make a good blues

refrain. I made myself
           laugh and so I made myself hurt—


A friend of mine competes in beard and mustache tournaments,
           even though she can’t grow one herself—

Once, she donned a Santa Claus made entirely out of hot-glued tampons.

It was as white as the spots in memories I doubt.

           The first woman
I kissed who had never kissed a woman before

couldn’t get over how soft my face is,
           even the scar. Once,

a famous poet said what’s this and touched my face
           without asking—

his thumb like a cat’s tongue on the old wound.

He must have thought he was giving
me a blessing.

Copyright © 2020 by Emilia Phillips. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 11, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

They had their lightning thrones they had
their cages. They had their lamb pens and lamb
ties not just for lambs but for their own. As soon
as I understood the name of my skin sack
I was handed the chain. Was told by virtue
of my snow-lit skin I was Courtier
of the Chain. And could be Lord Chancellor
if I played my cards right. Dominion. We worked
the word over and over. We practiced with butterscotch
and Jolly Ranchers in the gold Honda. In the mile-long
yellow chariot that ferried us to the Coliseum.
So sweet. No need to bite down for the whole world
to hear you. No need to work your jaws
like an animal. To make yourself into an animal.

But also. Useful to think like an animal. To know
what that smelled like. That fear. My little skin
sack and really such a weakling who wept
over the stupidest things. Particularly
when waiting for the long yellow chariot.
I want to go home. To where? That was the rub.
No more home for me. If there ever was one.
I pitied myself. Little skin sack with the young wolves
circling in their gladiator suits. Heart refusing
to harden. But. The taste of hatred::

the sweet promise of that possible release.
In the annals of my light scroll when and if the
Light takes me back, it will be impossible to deny.
After the kicks and taunts. After hours eating
Salisbury steak over the toilet in the girls’
restroom. After the turnaway the plague
game, bottles of piss and spit thrown from passing
chariots as I made my way to the fairgrounds
on foot? They made a wager and let a lamb sack out
before me. And battered it. And battered it.
But all the while looking at me. Who laughed
along with them. My relief inexhaustible

as my desolation the next day when, having
shown myself to lamb and wolf entirely,
I was given my true calling. Which was exile
from every realm.

Copyright © 2020 by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 12, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

Satan turns on his wheel of light,
hovering inside the Senate.

A beauty confesses to the power of air,
a roaring socket of need.

The humans bear forth from their jelly,
six rose-lipped mannequins.

—Who among these is most loved?

We will be forthright in our character analysis.
We will stenograph on bright, bright branches.

Even as someone might bribe us:
with a basket of fruit to our hearth;

with a length of black thread to our dead;
with a boy with that thread in his heart;

with a boy with a snail in his heart;
with a boy with toys in his heart, who are bowing.

Copyright © 2020 by Philip Matthews. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

In my numb mind, a little leather jacket,
the sleeve no bigger than a thumb drive.
In that diminished instance,  
I light a cigarette. I put on lipstick.
I’m a version of a self. I speak the truth.
As if speaking French. Haltingly.
Fast forward and it’s me asking air
to save me from the synaptic patterns
that dictate who I am alongside what I do
when under duress. I wear a red dress.
A coral neck scarf. A hand (not mine)
covers my mouth. Nature is never fair.
Someone sucks the air out of the room.
I am saying no more except to say
that the scale is tilted toward
accident. The accidental. The absolute is.

Copyright © 2020 by Mary Jo Bang. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 16, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

Cut from a mail bag

without a return address,

this land whispers its name

from a waterfall’s hairline,

pressed flat under bent knee.


Lifting your head

to look past coming night—
                           knives whistle.


You scribble an address

to a place where weeds

door the passage back.


Stone in throat,

your hand reaches

to clutch a leaf,

as you turn

toward the rising moon—


Copyright © 2020 by Sherwin Bitsui. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 17, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

The sun rises in shades of tuna

I can only hear

One song

See the trucks moving

Like ribbon around me

It's me and this machine

Somewhere are the bodies

I’ve put my mouth on

When I am old

And held in

I hope words

Will be lusterless

I want to be

Buffed so hard that even

The highway

Can’t scratch

When I get to school

One kid reads a piece

About how he wants to give

Relationship Advice

For a living

He says that a cheater

Will always cheat, and of course,

He wants to find a way

To make us learn this

The other day when locking

My house I had

A vision of a field

Behind it were three

Smaller fields

I can leave many times

And still not be


Copyright © 2020 by Emily Kendal Frey. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 18, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

Crows assemble in the bare elm above our house.
Restless, staring: like souls
who want back in life.

            —And who wouldn’t want again
            the hot bath after hard work,
            with soft canyons of splitting foam;
            or the glass of spring water
            cold at the mouth?

            To be startled by beauty—drops of bright
            blood on the snow.
            To be radiant.

All morning the crows watch me in the garden
putting in the early onions.
Their bodies look oiled.
Back in, back in,
they shake the wooden rattles. 

Copyright © 2020 by Jenny George. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 19, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

                             David Teng Olsen, Mural, 2017

At sunset, this October,
            I picked some Nippon daisies, 
the last flower to flower,
            a verb named for its noun.
The weather was all indoors.
            A Page solo plus Michelangelo 
enameled in cerulean, tangles
            of what looked like instant ramen,
a heavy barge in the surf offshore,
            a spindly zeppelin down, the scene 
split by an architectural birch
            crisscrossed by laser blasts.
Dave added the sky one day,
            then blew our heads apart
by denying it had ever been a sky.
            A spider creature was our sons.
Their hair entangled meant
            they would now never be apart,
not their whole lives wandering
            in a world itself worryingly
wandering who knows where.
            Look, there’s a friendly bloom; 
Look, a vivisectionist, a severed wrist. 
            These thoughts our house had had about us.

Copyright © 2020 by Dan Chiasson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 20, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

This morning—jeweled mannequins
In glass in a frame. Shadows. Bergdorf’s, Saks
5th Avenue. A dress of Coco Chanel an opera
A ballet A world away—
Lower East Side. I hear louder & louder
Faster, faster Delancey, Mott Street, rising
Above the hum the spinning the throbbing of
The bobbin-winder. Sweatshop din. Women
From Hong Kong, Mong Kok, choked in demonic
Heat. The fiber-dust-heat. 12 hours seated: 
In shirt-waist-dust. No break no ventilation
& Stooped over her Singer, Mother
                                                       —I never saw her
—There.  Her satin-scented hands
The faint scent of ginger & almond—
Fingers quickly—feeding
                                    —the machine—fingers
Cutting up garments, fragments How
Could it have been each piece, pennies
To the tick of the clock?
                                                      I am 9—
Before there are words to know
What it means to be 9Happy & did not know
What being happy meant.  Or innocence—

Standing there, Midtown, outside
Harold’s Broadway & 14th—where she
Did take me. Couture wool scraps. Ribbons.
Bullion fringes. Faux suede
                                                         Fabric— fleshy—
Appliqués. Mother’s eyes in the window
Flashing: looking in. Always constructing—
The same French coat, draping it over Jackie O’s
Shoulder; would it look runway-stunning
On me? On her shoulder too why not
—On hers? Denim In 12 metallic versions
I clutched My mother’s arm clutched them all the
Beaded Trimmings—
Followed her inside where eyes
                                                          Wide: dilated—lives—
Yards & yards piled high: bolts of
Dupioni, silk-shantung. Charmeuse.
I caressed them with my fingers. 
After my mother, fumbled into their folds
Fibers creases—infinite
                                        Dresses: of vermilion,
Gold. The palpable—
Hem—of the city Gum San Gold
Mountain America I was a child &
                                                          Everything! was there—
Mother’s taffeta dresses: hand-sewn
& Sewn—for me. Had I known, consigned
To the stars. And then even not
That, nothing better than those dresses that dressed
—Her wounds. What did I know? Only that her signature
Begins in the looping style: tiny embroidered ladybugs or
Butterflies swooping down
                                              From another—realm
I think I saw heaven—where she
Was, & for awhile & in her dreams: There-then
                                                                —As in : moments: silences
Sewn. Threaded: each seam, each
Crease. The recesses. Over & over the way
—A breath—is held; is
                                   —A sharp pain—stitched

Copyright © 2020 by Emily Yong. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 23, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

                          for my ancestor
                          in the Pennsylvania 25th Colored Infantry
                          aboard the Suwanee


First a penny-sized hole in the hull
                     then eager saltwater rushing over
    us and clouds swirling and clotting
            the moonlight—no time to stop and look upon it
as the hole becomes an iron mouth,
    makes strange sounds, peels and tears
                        open iron as iron should not open—

muffled and heavy         us becoming underwater
                     we confused the metal echo and thunder
         as the same death knell from God’s mouth—

we been done           floated all this way down 
           in dark blue used
      uniforms, how far from slavers’ dried-out fields
in Virginia, Pennsylvania—wherever

                                         we came from now we   
         barely and only
                    see and hear an ocean
                                        whipped into storm

not horror, not glory, but storm
                   not fear, not power, but focus
             on the work of breathing, living as the storm
rocks us and our insides upside down        turns
                   hard tack into empty nausea—

                 so close to death I thought I saw the blaze-
            sick fields of Berryville again, the curling fingers
                             of tobacco, hurt fruit and flower—
                      but no, but         no.

             I say no to death now. I’m nobody’s slave
                                    now. I’m alive     and not alone,
one of those      who escaped and made    myself
                 a soldier a weapon a stone in David’s sling
       riding the air above the deep. I grow more dangerous
to those who want me. I ain’t going back
                                 to anywhere I been before.

                 I grab a bucket. You grab a bucket. We the 25th
       Pennsylvania Colored Infantry, newly formed
                            and too alive and close to free
          to sink below this midnight water. 36 hours—chaos
shoveling-lifting-throwing       ocean back into ocean
                         to reach land and war in the Carolinas. 

       I stole my body back       from death and going down
                        more than once. I steal my breath
           tonight and every night      I will not drown. 

Copyright © 2020 by Aaron Coleman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 24, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

The dive starts
on the board….
something Steve
often said,

or Rub some dirt
in it, Princess,
when in his lesser

inscrutable mood;                         

Steve of the hair gel,
and whistle, a man
who was her
diving coach,
who never seemed
to like her much.

Which was odd,

given, objectively,
her admirable discipline,
and natural gifts,

the years and years                                                          
of practice, and the long                                                          
row of golden
trophies she won
for his team. The girl
she was then,

confused, partly
feral, like the outdoor
cat you feed,

when you remember
to, but won’t allow

to come inside….

She’s thinking of Steve
now, many years
later, while swimming

naked in her wealthy
landlord’s pool. Or

“grotto,” to call it
properly, an ugly,
Italian word for

something lovely,

ringed, as it is,
with red hibiscus;                                                  

white lights
in the mimosa trees                                                                  
draping their blurry
pearls along
the water’s skin.

It’s 3 am,

which seemed
the safest time for
this experiment,

in which she’s turned
her strange and aging
body loose. Once,

a man she loved
observed, You’re
the kind of woman

who feels embarrassed
just standing in 

a room alone,
a comment, like him,
two parts ill spirited,

and one perceptive.

But this night she’s
dropped her robe,                                                            
come here to be

the kind of woman
who swims naked                                                             
without asking
for permission, risking
a stray neighbor

getting the full gander,

buoyed by saltwater;
all the tough and sag
of her softened by

this moonlight’s near-
sighted courtesy.

Look at her: how
the woman is floating,

while trying to recall
the exact last
moment of her girlhood—

where she was,
what she was doing—

when she finally
learned what she’d                                               
been taught: to hate

this fleshy sack
of boring anecdotes                                                          
and moles she’s lived

inside so long,
nemesis without                                                                           
a zipper for escape.

A pearl is the oyster’s

Fellini said. How  
clean and weightless

the dive returns
to the woman now;

climbing the high
metal ladder, then

launching herself,
no fear, no notion

of self-preservation,

the arc of her
trajectory pretty
as any arrow’s

in St. Sebastian’s
side. How keen                                                                              
that girl, and sleek,

tumbling more
gorgeous than two                                                            
hawks courting

in a dead drop.                                                                             

Floating, the woman
remembers this again,

how pristine she was
in pike, or tucked
tighter than a socialite, or

twisting in reverse
like a barber’s pole,

her body flying
toward its pivot,
which is, in those seconds,

the Infinite,

before each
possible outcome
tears itself away

(the woman climbing
from the water now)

like the silvery tissue
swaddling a costly

Copyright © 2020 by Erin Belieu. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 25, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

for Tarfia and Fita

             The rabbit has a funny set of tools. He jumps.
             or kicks. muffled and punching up. In pose
             the rabbit knows, each side of his face to whom.
             he should belong. He hobbles and eyes. This
             is the dumb bun allegiance. This bunny, even dry and fluff
             is aware, be vicious. will bite down your finger stalk.
             will nick you good in the cheery web of your palm.
             Those claws are good for traction. and defense.
             This bunny, forgive him. There is no ease. His lack
             of neck is all the senses about a stillness.
             stuck in a calm. until household numbers upend
             his floor. until the family upsets the nest
             and traipses off. Then stuck in a bunny panic.

             We each stab at gratitude. In our nubbing, none
             of us do well. We jump. We kangaroo. We soft seeming,
             scatter and gnaw. Maybe the only way forward
             is to sleep all day. one eye open. under the sink.
             Like the rabbit, we could sit in our shit.
             Chew at the leaf of others’ dinner. Make
             of each tile on the floor a good spot to piss. No,
             it doesn’t get much better. And like the rabbit
             we do not jump well from heights. We linger the dark
             until it is safe to come out. To offer a nose.
             a cheek for touch. the top of a crown. Nothing
             makes us happier than another rabbit.

Copyright © 2020 by francine j. harris. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 26, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.


          the other gold.

                    Now that’s the stuff,

                               shredded or melted

                                         or powdered

                                                 or canned.


                                         the pinnacle of man

                     in a cheeto puff!

Now that’s the stuff

                      you’ve been primed for:

                                             fatty & salty & crunchy

          and poof—gone. There’s the proof.

Though your grandmother

                        never even had one. You can’t

                                    have just one. You

                                              inhale them puff—

                                                                     after puff—

                                                                after puff—

                               You’re a chain smoker. Tongue

                      coated & coaxed

but not saturated or satiated.

                       It’s like pure flavor,

                                   but sadder. Each pink ping

                                                       in your pinball-mouth

                                                                expertly played

                             by the makers who have studied you,

                               the human animal, and culled

                    from the rind

         your Eve in the shape

                                 of a cheese curl.


                                come curl in the dim light of the TV.

                           Veg out on the verge of no urge

                  of anything.

         Long ago we beached ourselves,

                                 climbed up the trees then

                                          down the trees,

                                                knuckled across the dirt

                               & grasses & thorns & Berber carpet.

                                           Now is the age of sitting,

                                   so sit.

           And I must say,

                       crouched on the couch like that,

                             you resemble no animal.

                                    Smug in your Snuggie and snug

                                                     in your sloth, you look

                                           nothing like a sloth.

           And you are not an anteater,

                                   an anteater eats ants

                                                   without fear

                                       of diabetes. Though breathing,

                 one could say, resembles a chronic disease. 

                                                                                            What’s real

                             cheese and what is cheese product?

                              It’s difficult to say

               but being alive today

                                      is real-



                                like a book you can’t put down, a stone

                       that plummets from a great height. Life’s

                      a “page-turner” alright.

               But don’t worry

                                      if you miss the finale

                                                of your favorite show, you can

                                                   catch in on queue. Make room

                                      for me and I’ll binge on this,

                                                            the final season with you.

Copyright © 2020 by Benjamin Garcia. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 27, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

I dreamt        the spirit of the codfish:

          in rafters of the mind;

fly out into the winter’s

           blue night;

 mirth off alder       tendrils sashay;

 while I set up

             my winter tent;

 four panels long—beams suspend

 I sit & pull blubber strips             aged in a poke bag;

 I’m shadowing the sun                    as a new moon icicle

 time melts    when white                     hawks come.

Copyright © 2020 by dg nanouk okpik. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 30, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

This morning I love everyone,
even Jerome, the neighbor I hate,
and the sun. And the sun

has pre-warmed my bucket seat 
for the drive up Arsenal Street 
with the hot car effect, 

a phenomenon climatologists
use to explain global warming
to senators and kids.

I love the limited edition
Swingline gold stapler
in the oil change lounge

which can, like a poem,
affix anything to anything
on paper. One sheet of paper,

for instance, for that cloud of gnats,
one for this lady’s pit mix
wagging his tail so violently

I fear he’ll hurt his hips. 
One sheet for glittered lip balm,
for eye contact, Bitcoin extortion

and the imperfect tense. 
Sheets for each unfulfilled wish
I left in a penny in a mall fountain.

Sun spills into the lounge 
through the window decal
in geometric Tetris wedges.

I have a sheet for Tetris,
its random sequence of pieces
falling toward me in this well

like color coded aspects of the life
I neglected to live, for the pleasure
of making line after line

disappear. The gold stapler
has twenty-sheet capacity
so I straighten my stack

on the reception counter
and staple the day together
with an echoing chunk.

Copyright © 2020 by Ted Mathys. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 31, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.