Out here, there’s a bowing even the trees are doing.
                 Winter’s icy hand at the back of all of us.
Black bark, slick yellow leaves, a kind of stillness that feels
so mute it’s almost in another year.

I am a hearth of spiders these days: a nest of trying.

We point out the stars that make Orion as we take out
       the trash, the rolling containers a song of suburban thunder.

It’s almost romantic as we adjust the waxy blue
       recycling bin until you say, Man, we should really learn
some new constellations.

And it’s true. We keep forgetting about Antlia, Centaurus,
       Draco, Lacerta, Hydra, Lyra, Lynx.

But mostly we’re forgetting we’re dead stars too, my mouth is full
       of dust and I wish to reclaim the rising—

to lean in the spotlight of streetlight with you, toward
       what’s larger within us, toward how we were born.

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
       We’ve come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
     No, to the rising tides.

Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain

for the safety of others, for earth,
                 if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,

if we launched our demands into the sky, made ourselves so big
people could point to us with the arrows they make in their minds,

rolling their trash bins out, after all of this is over?

From The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) by Ada Limón. Copyright © 2018 by Ada Limón. Used with the permission of Milkweed Editions. milkweed.org.

a hole
            a floating rib
an admirer’s shadow
            ribs with grief 
a taper hall
            an empty street
a black hole  
            named love
its low density
            like clouds, dust, cosmic ray

at the center of the milky way
            thousands of them
i bet it hurts
            your lungs
as air expands
            tears through tissue
you inhale all the oxygen
            from us in fifteen seconds
who can dust your bones?
            time is infinite

i wish upon stars
            not old enough for light to reach
 wish upon a name
            to leave your lips as print
even moon rocks crumble
            zero point zero four inches
a million years
            call it what it feels like
            space junk
a dirty collision
            a chain reaction
a thick cloud of debris
            traveling fast

Copyright © 2022 by Boderra Joe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 11, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

If you could ask the stars,
Those flickers that visit nightly,
They would tell you it wasn’t them
Who carved us from mud
To marvel at our opposable thumbs.
It wasn’t them who forfeited God
For a watch that didn’t work anyway.
It wasn’t them who sometimes denied
Us the living mirror we named love.
And still you look to them
For stories, for riddles, for answers
That they never possessed.
I’m not saying I’m better than you,
Far from it, if you find me here
Erecting the same elements
With these meager tools,
Wanting even now to give them life,
That they may look upon me with mercy.
I’ve been a prophet. I’ve been a fool.

Copyright © 2022 by José Antonio Rodríguez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 12, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

                                                        Viewed from space, the world’s
                                                                              France appears,
                                                         but no Frenchmen.
                                                                                         Then Germany,
                                                         without one German.
                                                         the richest man on earth
                                                         pays three hundred thousand
                                                         for a ten-minute flight by rocket
                                                         at three thousand miles per hour
                                                         to see everything below
                                                         from sixty-two miles straight up.
                                                         He’s making business plans
                                                         for space, beginning with Mars
                                                         and the moon. 
                                                                                       There’s ample
                                                         precedent to show how profit
                                                                            After we mapped
                                                         the earth as we imagined it,
                                                         we matched what we imagined
                                                         with the world as it would look
                                                         when photographed from space.
                                                         We did the same with rivers,
                                                         lakes and seas.
                                                                                        We kept
                                                         the original names unchanged
                                                         for everything we saw
                                                         as far as we could fly. 
                                                         From seashores to the stratosphere
                                                         the world was seen as property
                                                         that men could bargain for and buy.
                                                         We see it now the same
                                                         while profiteers debate how best 
                                                         to advertise and sell the sky.

Copyright © 2022 by Samuel Hazo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 5, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

1. Mare Crisium

battery of wind   |   car sliding toward the
ditch   |   phantom in the left hemisphere   |   blood
down wrong   |   an erase   |   drumbeat   |  rip along
the seam   |   drumbeat   |    landslide and shatter   |   oh
drumbeat   |   how you became ashes when we
weren’t there   |   silence   |   silence   |  silence   |   silence   ||


2. Mare Nubium

Turn west toward granite chop and shut
your eyes. Think of what you desire. Spread
your arms to manifest four humors in the arc. Clouds

will form in the shape of a precipice woman stone
eagle. You will be torn. You will be called
a fumbler. Clouds will form in the shape of a

child wren hand boat. You will be lofted.
You will be called a savior. Clouds form.
You open your arms. Rain at last lets down.


3. Mare Tranquillitatis

All our stories sputtered
out. Waves
the only language
left. Empty wine bottle

nestled against
a driftwood bulwark.
Blue hour after
the sun, before dark,

and you kept
pushing your hair
out of your eyes
so you could watch

light forget
the mountains.


4. Mare Cognitum

Maybe afterward we know.
In this living there is no space

for recognition. I’d hang a ribbon
above the water. I’d be a book.

Finder’s fee to anyone who can
point out the route. Here. After.


5. Oceanus Procellarum

Once, electricity crawled through my arm and raised
a blister on each fingertip. Once, I choked on a stone.
Air pushing against barrier. Once, a car struck and I
kept traveling. Glass fragments in my hair and a broken

wing. I’ve never been good at this, saying which thump
bruised and which thump distorted. I wanted with
the whole structure I built as my being. Pulled myself
out of a life and into another. Low pressure rolling in

along my spine and settling. I want to open up now
and let it all out. Go ahead, make up a story of how
I was cold and unapproachable. Most shining when
closest but still bringing out the wind, bringing out the storm.

Copyright © 2021 by Erin Coughlin Hollowell. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 12, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.