In the steamer is the trout seasoned with slivers of ginger, two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil. We shall eat it with rice for lunch, brothers, sister, my mother who will taste the sweetest meat of the head, holding it between her fingers deftly, the way my father did weeks ago. Then he lay down to sleep like a snow-covered road winding through pines older than him, without any travelers, and lonely for no one.
Li-Young Lee, "Eating Together" from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., boaeditions.org.
Bees and a honeycomb in the dried head of a horse in a pasture corner—a skull in the tall grass and a buzz and a buzz of the yellow honey-hunters.
And I ask no better a winding sheet
(over the earth and under the sun.)
Let the bees go honey-hunting with yellow blur of wings in the dome of my head, in the rumbling, singing arch of my skull.
Let there be wings and yellow dust and the drone of dreams of honey—who loses and remembers?—who keeps and forgets?
In a blue sheen of moon over the bones and under the hanging honeycomb the bees come home and the bees sleep.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 3, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
Every morning I let it all go.
Then it starts coming back,
sometimes blurred, sometimes
stuttering, sometimes suspended
on a linear dartboard that
I try to impale myself upon.
Even when the skylight is leaking,
I look for the peephole
that will ensnare my vision
of things: the boy sashaying
through the mud, the man shaving,
the mother scrubbing shoes
in the driveway. I want to say
that I feel too, that I remember,
and then I forget, and then I notice
that almost all the leaves are off the trees
and on the ground, save my three magnolias.
From Promise (Louisiana State University Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Sally Van Doren. Used with the permission of Louisiana State University Press.
Two hours between classes.
The short Metro ride home.
Coffee table, plates, glasses,
the TV flickering afternoon
news, sometimes a car bomb…
And in the kitchen the singular tune
of his voice, his jokes, recounting this
or that—plot of a novel, book
he’s put down, I bought for his
monthly fix (how he’d love
reading in the park what I took
half an hour to choose). Above
all, the sofa: digestion a nap,
my head nestled in his lap.
Hora del almuerzo
Dos horas entre clases.
El viaje breve en Metro a casa.
Mesa de salón, platos, vasos,
la tele luciendo noticias
de tarde, a veces un coche-bomba…
Y en la cocina el tono único
de su voz, sus chistes, contando esto
y aquello—argumento de novela, libro
que ha dejado, que le compré:
sus dosis mensual (cómo le encantaba
leer en el parque lo que tardé
madia hora en escoger). Sobre
todo, el sofá: la digestión una siesta,
mi cabeza recostada en su regazo
From Puerta del Sol. Copyright © 2005, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.
I liked how the starry blue lid
of that saucepan lifted and puffed,
then settled back on a thin
hotpad of steam, and the way
her kitchen filled with the warm,
wet breath of apples, as if all
the apples were talking at once,
as if they’d come cold and sour
from chores in the orchard,
and were trying to shoulder in
close to the fire. She was too busy
to put in her two cents’ worth
talking to apples. Squeezing
her dentures with wrinkly lips,
she had to jingle and stack
the bright brass coins of the lids
and thoughtfully count out
the red rubber rings, then hold
each jar, to see if it was clean,
to a window that looked out
through her back yard into Iowa.
And with every third or fourth jar
she wiped steam from her glasses,
using the hem of her apron,
printed with tiny red sailboats
that dipped along with leaf-green
banners snapping, under puffs
or pale applesauce clouds
scented with cinnamon and cloves,
the only boats under sail
for at least two thousand miles.
From Delights and Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004). Copyright © 2004 by Ted Kooser. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press.