The week after Thanksgiving and the stores are decked out
for holiday shopping including a TJ Maxx where what was
once too expensive loses its value and attracts us, there is a
store with a big yellow banner proclaiming GIANT BOOK SALE,
a seasonal operation of remaindered books, which doesn’t mean
that the books aren’t good, only that the great machinery
of merchandising didn’t engage its gears in quite the right way
and I buy two books of poetry and am leaving the store, the ﬁrst snowstorm
of the winter on the way and as I get to the glass double doors
a bearded man with a cane is entering, he has been walking
with a woman who is continuing on to another store and he
has the look that could make him either eccentrically brilliant
or just plain simple and as I open the door and he opens the other side
he turns and says “I love you,” not to me but calling back to his
friend who is departing, only he’s said it looking at me, closest
to me, which is unintended love, random love, love that
should be spread throughout the world, shouted in our ears for free.
From Prayers and Run-on Sentences (Deerbrook Editions, 2007). Copyright © 2007 by Stuart Kestenbaum. Used with permission of the author.
Tonight, as you undress, I watch your wondrous
flesh that’s swelled again, the way a river swells
when the ice relents. Sweet relief
just to regard the sheaves of your hips,
your boundless breasts and marshy belly.
I adore the acreage
of your thighs and praise the promising
planets of your ass.
O, you were lean that terrifying year
you were unraveling, as though you were returning
to the slender scrap of a girl I fell in love with.
But your skin was vacant, a ripped sack,
sugar spilling out and your bones insistent.
O praise the loyalty of the body
that labors to rebuild its palatial realm.
Bless butter. Bless brie.
Sanctify schmaltz. And cream and cashews.
Stoke the furnace
of the stomach and load the vessels. Darling,
drench yourself in opulent oil,
the lamp of your body glowing. May you always
flourish enormous and sumptuous,
be marbled with fat, a great vault that
I can enter, the cathedral where I pray.
From Indigo (Copper Canyon Press, 2020) by Ellen Bass. Copyright © 2020 by Ellen Bass. Used with permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, coppercanyonpress.org.
ah my mother used to make it
with eggs and milk
and stale white bread
slid onto a plate with
Log Cabin fake maple syrup
and I always wanted more
to disappear what troubled me
the man under the moon
the man in our living room
make enough spitting bacon
to forget the broken gameboards
missing family car
his vanishings and sudden returns
smelling of other rooms
my mother’s tears
over the stove
her catchy milky breath
Copyright © 2021 by Cammy Thomas. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 6, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.