These days, I refuse to let you see me
the way I see myself.
I wake up in the morning not knowing
whether I will make it through the day;
reminding myself of the small, small things
I’ve forgotten to marvel in;
these trees, blood-free and bone-dry
have come to rescue me more than once,
but my saving often requires hiding
yet they stand so tall, so slim and gluttonous
refusing to contain me; even baobab trees
will split open at my command, and
carve out fleshless wombs to welcome me.
I must fall out of love of the world
without me in it, but my loves have
long gone, and left me in a foreign land
where once I was made of bone,
now water, now nothing.
Copyright © 2019 by Mahtem Shifferaw. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 6, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
Isn't it funny
when suddenly after all these decades
you notice a new part of your body.
Maybe the hamstrings—
entirely unused when lifting weights,
back used instead
which then pains for years.
Maybe the slight shoulder raise
that tightens those muscles
maybe for good.
I notice my body
slide through time.
It is odd and peculiar,
genius of no one,
a perfect clock
Newness comes naturally.
Resisting it causes the past
to present memories on yellow
My age is a number.
Bones getting ready to play poker.
I will remain a small book
hidden away deep
in the library.
I love my body and this world!
Such a declaration
five years ago
would've driven me insane.
But now an appreciation arrives
with a fine taste of sulfur
and anywhere I look is born
Copyright © 2019 by Zubair Ahmed. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 20, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
I told a million lies now it’s time to tell a single truth Sometimes I cry It’s hard dealing with my pride Not knowing whether to fight or flee Sometimes I cry Hard to maintain this image of a tough guy When deep down inside I am terrified If I ever told you I wasn’t scared I lied Struggling to make it back To society and my family I cry I cry for my son who I barely see Due to these mountains And me and his mom’s beef I cry for my siblings who never knew their older brother Because he stayed in the streets I cry for my grandma who is now deceased I cry for my life, half of which they took for me I cry for my anger and rage The only emotions I can show in this place I cry for how we treat each other inside these walls I cry for the lack of unity we have most of all When will it end I want to know Till then all I can do is let these tears flow
Copyright © 2019 by DJ. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 19, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.