Your absence is a bisected city 
block where a hospital once stood.
The footprint of a yellow house on Providence’s east side
we once shared. Demolished. A white pickup you drove
decorated with black dice. The ground beneath it
crumbled—poof—then paved over, engraved like verses
into stone. When I was told what happened to you,
I sank to the wet floor of a bar’s bathroom, furious
that you left us to reassemble ourselves
from rubble. To build, between subway stops,
some saccharine monument
pigeons shit on, empty except for a circle of queens 
chattering, furnishing the air like ghosts. Your death
means I’m always equidistant from you, 
no matter where I travel, where I linger, 
misguided, hopeful. Last night, by candle light,
a woman unearthed me. 
Together, she and I grieved 
the impossibility of disappearing 
into one another. Poof. Since you died,
erasure obsesses me. Among the photos at the memorial,
one of a banner that reads WHERE IS YOUR RAGE? 
young men. Your face in each. Your beautiful face.

Copyright © 2022 by Stefania Gomez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

someone  asked  me  if  my husband  left me,  or if I left him. After
the   reading,  someone   asked   me   if   there   was  a   chance  for
reconciliation  as  I shoved a  pulled  pork sandwich  in my mouth
with  Carolina  Gold BBQ  sauce  oozing  out  the  sides  like  neon
yellow  lava.  After  the reading,  someone  asked  me if I still pray
to  God  as  I  sipped a  fizzy Diet Coke  and the ice cubes huddled
and  softly clinked  around my  upper lip  leaving a wet mustache.
After  the  reading,  someone said they had been divorced too and
then  scurried away  in a way that I completely  understood. After
the  reading,  a  woman told me I was worthy as if I was shattered 
while   I   picked   up   crudités   with  a   copious  dollop  of  ranch
dressing.  After  the  reading,  a  white woman thanked me for my 
“angry poems.”  I  told  her they were about my joy,  and then she
touched  my  forearm  and  said,  “No,  they were about my rage.”
Insisting.   After   the  reading,   someone  said   they   cried,   and
another  gave me a kind word.  Thank you. After the after,  I went   
home and changed into my cheetah print pajamas. I wrapped my
hair and  brushed my teeth.  I got in bed and played a  sci-fi show
on  my  laptop.  The  actors  on the show were trying to find a way
to talk  to aliens by  using  math  and pheromones.  I  googled the
height   of  one  of  the   actors.  He  is  6' 4".   I   fell   asleep  while 
watching   the    show   about    the    people   in   space   trying   to   
communicate  in  first  contact,  intergalactic  noises  beeped  and
swirled around the room like bees.

Copyright © 2023 by Tiana Clark. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 13, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

At the funeral, his other former girlfriend gives the eulogy. I sit in the pew.

Sitting in front of me, and behind me, and also to both sides, are more other former girlfriends.

Something heartfelt shared by Ex on the Mic sets off a chorus of sniffles among the Exes in Rows. They tuck their hair behind their little ears.

There are so many different people to hate, so I keep things simple and hate everyone.

I know why he picked me, a novelty.

I wore Mary Janes and high-neck dresses and labeled the shelves “Tuna and Nuts” and “Breakfast Items, Soup.” My hair was always squeaky clean.

Now I am someone entirely new.

A black dog, a broken heart.

I revel in being more like him now.

At home, I put on my sunglasses and turn off the lights.

Sitting on the toilet where light can’t peek through, I pretend the plunger’s a white cane. My chin held too high and to the side, I run through gruesome imitations of anger, contempt, disgust, sadness, surprise.

The world will be unsettled.

I will unsettle them.

Copyright © 2023 by Leigh Lucas. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Dedicated to the Poet Agostinho Neto,
President of The People’s Republic of Angola: 1976

I will no longer lightly walk behind
a one of you who fear me:
                                     Be afraid.
I plan to give you reasons for your jumpy fits
and facial tics
I will not walk politely on the pavements anymore
and this is dedicated in particular
to those who hear my footsteps
or the insubstantial rattling of my grocery
then turn around
see me
and hurry on
away from this impressive terror I must be:
I plan to blossom bloody on an afternoon
surrounded by my comrades singing
terrible revenge in merciless
I have watched a blind man studying his face.
I have set the table in the evening and sat down
to eat the news.
I have gone to sleep.
There is no one to forgive me.
The dead do not give a damn.
I live like a lover
who drops her dime into the phone
just as the subway shakes into the station
wasting her message
canceling the question of her call:
fulminating or forgetful but late
and always after the fact that could save or 
condemn me

I must become the action of my fate.

How many of my brothers and my sisters
will they kill
before I teach myself
Shall we pick a number? 
South Africa for instance:
do we agree that more than ten thousand
in less than a year but that less than
five thousand slaughtered in more than six
months will

I must become a menace to my enemies.

And if I 
if I ever let you slide
who should be extirpated from my universe
who should be cauterized from earth
(lawandorder jerkoffs of the first the
                   terrorist degree)
then let my body fail my soul
in its bedeviled lecheries

And if I 
if I ever let love go
because the hatred and the whisperings
become a phantom dictate I o-
bey in lieu of impulse and realities
(the blossoming flamingos of my
                   wild mimosa trees)
then let love freeze me
I must become
I must become a menace to my enemies.

Copyright © 2017 by the June M. Jordan Literary Estate. Used with the permission of the June M. Jordan Literary Estate,

Probably you’ll solve gravity, flesh 
out our microbiomics, split our God 
particles into their constituent bits 
of christs and antichrists probably, 
probably you’ll find life as we know it 
knitted into nooks of the chattering 
cosmos, quaint and bountiful as kismet 
and gunfights in the movies probably, 
probably, probably you have no patience
for the movies there in your eventual 
arrondissement where you have more
credible holography, more inspiring
actual events, your ghazals composed 
of crow racket, retrorockets, glaciers 
breaking, your discotheques wailing
probably, probably, probably, probably 
too late a sentient taxi airlifts you 
home over a refurbished riverbank, 
above the rebuilt cathedral, your head 
dozing easy in the crook of your arm,
emptied of any memory of these weeks 
we haven’t slept you’ve been erupting 
into that hereafter like a hydrant on fire, 
like your mother is an air raid, and I am 
an air raid, and you’re a born siren 
chasing us out of your airspace probably
we’ve caught 46 daybreaks in 39 days, 
little emissary arrived to instruct us,
we wake now you shriek us awake,
we sleep now you leave us to sleep.

Copyright © 2019 by Jaswinder Bolina. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 10, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.