of the past as I walk
by a window boarded-up

in winter and in

summer hot where
spiders lived and dust

filmed everything
in that storefront

that was his home. Or
a madcap air in May

or a combination
of words can bring

a voice to the surface
—it’s that I … at the

thought of him
which, more today

than yesterday,
is like approaching

a grave. His calls
before my first visit

flickered weekly,
are ash now. Cities

changed their names:
Madrid became

Corning became Davis,
South Bend,

D.C. I know
the beginnings

and the ends
of things. I

curb myself,
swallow what

cannot change.
But still, it is

there (he who
was torn

away no

needs). But isn’t
it time this grew

fruitful, time
I loose myself

and, though unsteady,
move on—the way

the arrow, suddenly
all vector

survives the string?

           with Akhmatova and Rilke
           for my father

From After Rubén (Red Hen Press, 2020) by Francisco Aragón. Copyright © 2020 by Francisco Aragón. Used with permission of The Permissions Company LLC on behalf of Red Hen Press, redhen.org.

after Marie Howe

              in the wordless beginning

iguana & myrrh

magma & reef          ghost moth

& the cordyceps tickling its nerves

& cedar & archipelago & anemone

dodo bird & cardinal waiting for its red

ocean salt & crude oil         now black

muck now most naïve fumbling plankton

every egg clutched in the copycat soft

of me unwomaned unraced

unsexed          as the ecstatic prokaryote

that would rage my uncle’s blood

or the bacterium that will widow

your eldest daughter’s eldest son

my uncle, her son           our mammoth sun

& her uncountable siblings         & dust mite & peat

apatosaurus & nile river

& maple green & nude & chill-blushed &

yeasty keratined bug-gutted i & you

spleen & femur seven-year refreshed

seven-year shedding & taking & being this dust

& my children & your children

& their children & the children

of the black bears & gladiolus & pink florida grapefruit

here not allied but the same        perpetual breath

held fast to each other as each other’s own skin

cold-dormant & rotting & birthing & being born

in the olympus           of the smallest

possible once before once

Copyright © 2020 by Marissa Davis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 1, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

O’ King build me more templar
more handsome and muscular.
Build me a chest made of barley fire.
Set it ablaze each morning for sunlight.
Build me legs quick as a chariot,
light as a doe’s, strong as a current runs through a river. It

must all mean something if I am the third son of my father. It
must all mean something if my body is a ravaged temple.
What does it mean if his body is a ravaged temple? Wretched chariots
we carry burdened with copper and birch bark inside muscled
and fatty hearts. Siken wrote about bodies being possessed by light,
I should have known those antlers were never copper but always fire.

Your tongue always tasted of fire.
The ash of it.
The lie of it. But one hundred legs of running men leaves me light
around the temples.
I have a weakness for muscular.
I have a brain full of char rioting

in an underwater circus. I hold my breath as his chariot
is unplugged from the wall. The immediate silence. No more fire
here. I wanted you to be muscular
and fit, healthy as an ox. The attraction I feel for it.
We can only build the most modest of temples
when all we have is moonlight.

Moonlit / chariot / racing toward a temple
fire / The idea of it / muscular

I’ve always loved Absalom, not because he’s handsome and muscular
but because he had the King’s heart. Let there be light.
Let it / arrive in a horse-drawn carriage.
Let it arrive as fire.
O’ King build my body a temple,

make my heart more corpuscular than muscular. Make me a chariot
light of ire.
It's so lonely and cold inside this scalpel-ruined templum.

Copyright © 2020 by b: william bearhart. Reprinted with the permission of Carrie Bearhart. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 30, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.