Looking out over the cliff, we’re overwhelmed
by a sky that seems to heap danger upon us. We
end up staring at a single white fluff in the air—
feather, fur, dandelion puff—we don’t care
to define it. The relief of having something
to focus our attention. At home, our patio furniture
unscrews itself under the usual sun. On this trip—
well, I’m not any sadder, I just have more space
for my sadness to fill. I don’t want to give
particulars. A woman huffing up the trail behind
us says to her hiking partner, It wasn’t my size,
but it was only 9 dollars. And now all I want
is to see what it is. The future refuses
to happen, so where else should I turn?
Copyright © 2023 by Paige Lewis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 9, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.
It’s neither red
It doesn’t melt
or turn over,
break or harden,
so it can’t feel
It doesn’t have
a tip to spin on,
it isn’t even
just a thick clutch
I feel it inside
its cage sounding
a dull tattoo:
I want, I want—
but I can’t open it:
there’s no key.
I can’t wear it
on my sleeve,
or tell you from
the bottom of it
how I feel. Here,
it’s all yours, now—
but you’ll have
to take me,
Copyright © 2017 Rita Dove. Used with permission of the author.
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
“Scaffolding” from Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966–1996 by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 1998 by Seamus Heaney.