With every stroke of her pencil  
the little girl unfurls dreams
and traces childhood’s uncertain roadmaps. 

A twisted loom,
lines on a page mending sorrows
which she weaves into life’s purity.

In a scarring script
she tattoos the wavering future
on the bare skinned wall.

Originally published in the April 2019 issue of Words Without Borders. "Des(d)enhos," © Helder Faife. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Sandra Tamele and Eric M. B. Becker. All rights reserved.

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
   Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in heaven above,
   Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea,
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

From The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe, vol. II, 1850

A prison is the only place that’s a prison.
Maybe your brain is a beehive—or, better:
an ants nest? A spin class?
The sand stuck in an hourglass? Your brain is like
stop it. So you practice driving with your knees,
you get all the way out to the complex of Little League fields,
you get chicken fingers with four kinds of mustard—
spicy, whole grain, Dijon, yellow—
you walk from field to field, you watch yourself
play every position, you circle each identical game,
each predictable outcome. On one field you catch.
On one field you pitch. You are center field. You are left.
Sometimes you have steady hands and French braids.
Sometimes you slide too hard into second on purpose.
It feels as good to get the bloody knee as it does to kick yourself in the shin.
You wait for the bottom of the ninth to lay your blanket out in the sun.
Admit it, Sasha, the sun helps. Today,
the red team hits the home run. Red floods every field.
A wasp lands on your thigh. You know this feeling.

Copyright © 2020 by Sasha Debevec-McKenney. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 26, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

Come, “Will,” let’s be good friends again, 
     Our wrongs let’s be forgetting, 
For words bring only useless pain, 
     So wherefore then be fretting. 

Let’s lay aside imagined wrongs, 
    And ne’er give way to grieving,
Life should be filled with joyous songs, 
    No time left for deceiving. 

I’ll try and not give way to wrath, 
    Nor be so often crying; 
There must some thorns be in our path, 
    Let’s move them now by trying. 

How, like a foolish pair were we, 
    To fume about a letter; 
Time is so precious, you and me; 
    Must spend ours doing better.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 6, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

   Again it is September! 
It seems so strange that I who made no vows
Should sit here desolate this golden weather 
And wistfully remember—

    A sigh of deepest yearning, 
A glowing look and words that knew no bounds, 
A swift response, an instant glad surrender
To kisses wild and burning! 

   Ay me! 
   Again it is September! 
It seems so strange that I who kept those vows 
Should sit here lone, and spent, and mutely praying 
That I may not remember! 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 5, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.