O Málik! I pray thee go for the wine full early, 
And if it be dear to buy, then buy it dearly! 
Bethink thee how once a grizzled old tavern-keeper, 
Whose whiskers were black with blowing the tarry wineskin,
I called, as he lay where slumber had stolen o’er him — 
His head sunk low, the left hand’s palm his pillow; 
And he at my cry arose with a start of terror,
And hastened to light the wick, and it flared, and straightway 
His terror was flown: he had gotten a look of gladness 
And gaily haha’d—a clatter of idle laughter. 
When now by the flame my features were lit, he gave me 
The greeting of love, asked many a courteous question;
And into his hand I counted a thousand dirhems
To lodge me a month, with freedom for either party.
I found in his pleasure-domes two noble virgins
Of family high and proud, and became their bridegroom.
’Tis thus I have ever lived and am living ever,
Away my religion goes and my wealth in armfuls.
As oft as we meet, I like what the law forbiddeth,
And never can bear to like what the law hath hallowed.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 7, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.

Hello Leander, tucked into cloth, tiny lion
who yawns through the virus and tear gas.
You are a new scent of heat.
Before any scar grazes your legs
I would show you the rows of bicycles
in burned colors, and whistles and cardinals
who pin the cold snow. You hold a small
share of what it means to be here.
When the air shatters around you,
gold and marine, please know you belong.
You are half sky, half butterfly net, alive
to friends and strangers, fast to net
and trust. There is nothing
that is not worth much. Arrayed
in overalls and tackle-box, you should grow
to see the deep green rains, the roads
brushing the clouds. To compass
all you have done from a porch in late life
and listen to the bees who, woolen
and undeterred, have returned. I hope
you stay warm inside the white dusk of
morning. No one stays unscathed
but you have days of summer to grow
into your thoughts and learn the great
caring tasks. You have yards of treelight
to race through under the birds’ low song-
swept radiances. The trills you hear
are glass grace. They are singing.

Copyright © 2024 by Joanna Klink. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 8, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Roosevelt Island, New York City
The fourth is freedom from fear . . .
—Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
Annual Message to Congress January 6, 1941
The weed is the Nemesis of human endeavor . . .
—Henry Miller


Then—as if someone had switched on a black light in the sky—
the traceries of dread just visible all around her, the curving
       trajectories of each possible disaster
once seen, now indelible
Bristling stems of mugwort sheared to resemble a lawn
rhizomatic: ineradicable
each torn scrap giving rise 
to a new plant
The Penitentiary Hospital
The New York City Lunatic Asylum 
The Blackwell Island Workhouse 
The Smallpox Hospital
The Charity Hospital
our standing army of paupers, criminals, and sick poor” 
This whole repurposed
dry sponge of rootstalks, map
of the neural pathways 
tunneled out
by fear
Her eight-year-old at the beach adorning
his ring of sandcastles with bits of shell and twig reciting the “Day 
of Infamy” speech, “we will not only defend ourselves
to the uttermost
but will make it very certain
that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.” The crumbling 
gray crenellations
The smallpox 
hospital “our only 
landmarked ruin”
“No Trespassing: Structure is unstable” the winsome
of bindweed
at its feet
its gaping gneiss face blushed
with Virginia creeper its body a copse of sumac
In Korea, smallpox is referred to as “Your Majesty” in an effort to 
      appease the god.
Eradicated circa 1980. 
Who now will ride
the horses made of straw 
made to tempt the smallpox
spirits to ride home? 
Plaques of cellophane 
subdue the East River
The tram released like a dispensation across the swollen sky “the line
      of flight
is part of the rhizome. These lines 
always tie back to one another.”
Garbage circulating underground 
soundlessly, a system
of pneumatic tubes
The monument’s honed granite 
a luxury of specific intention, like all luxuries most
poignant at its defined 
edges, subject
to encroachment, exhaustion
loosestrife, prostrate spurge

From You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, 2024), edited by Ada Limón. Copyright © 2024 Milkweed Editions and the Library of Congress. Used with the permission of the author. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 20, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.