Always this warm moment when I forgot which part of me
I blamed. Never mind the pills kicking in, their spell
that showers the waiting room, once full of shame,
in a soft rain of sparks that pity sometimes is,
how it mends the past like a welder seams metal,
and isn’t that why we’re all here, addicts
and arthritics—we close our eyes completely
but the edges only blur—and though the door’s the same,
somehow the exit, like the worst wounds, is greater
than the entrance was. I throw it open for all to see
how daylight, so tall, has imagination. It has heart. It loves.
 

From I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by William Brewer. Used with the permission of Milkweed Editions.

Only in the slow braid of a dream
can you study want and need, their
patience, their cruelty. Amid the thin
trunks of their campfires’ smoke,
I watched the hours shed
their polished armor, clean and
sheathe their blades, water their
stallions, refuse to leave the shore.
Always a shore, overcast, a sun
that offers me to climb inside its mouth,
and therefore cannot be trusted.
You’re asking to be taken apart
without the help of time, in the face
of its broken promise to keep
forward. I thought to give myself
to the dogs, but they only gnawed 
my thighs. With the waves’ jade
coaxing, I heaved my every organ
through my mouth, then cut a mouth,
at last, in my abdomen and prayed
for there to be something more divine
than the body, and still something
more divine than that, for a torrent
of white flies to fly out of me,
anything, make me in the image
of the bullet. I begged, release me
from myself and I will end a life.
 

From I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by William Brewer. Used with the permission of Milkweed Editions.

All day on all my days,
the lives I’m not to process wash in;

anxieties lullaby on
and quite like to be gotten among;

but now—and now—one old,
abundant flower just screws up the room.

Copyright © 2016 by Graham Foust. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 4, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

At least once a week
I walk into the city of bricks
where the rubies grow

and the killers await
the coming of doves and cats.

I pass by the homes of butchers
and their knives sharpened by insomnia

to the river of black sails
and the torn-up sea and the teeth of dogs.

She waits for me in a narrow bed,
watching the rain
that gathers on the broken street

and the weak light of dusk
and the singing trees.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Pablo Medina. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 17, 2015, 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.

Take a good look, she says about her inventory. 

Palatially housed, her inflammatory and multifaceted

    set of selves. 

Old brain inside the new brain, inside the skull. 

The exact velocity of quantum particles cannot be known. 

Like wave equations in the space of certain dimensions. 

I never thought that things would go this far. 

Angular momentum of closely-knit and sexually
 
    adventurous people. 

Any piece of matter, when heated, starts to glow. 

It’s that kind of relationship that’s built on friction.

"40" from NINE. Copyright © 2010 by Anne Tardos. Used with permission of the author.

I saw the civil sun drying earth’s tears —
Her tears of joy that only faster flowed,

Fain would I stretch me by the highway side,
To thaw and trickle with the melting snow,
That mingled soul and body with the tide,
I too may through the pores of nature flow.

But I alas nor tinkle can nor fume,
One jot to forward the great work of Time,
‘Tis mine to hearken while these ply the loom,
So shall my silence with their music chime.

This poem is in the public domain.