Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn't see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don't you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away...

This poem is in the public domain.

I can never have the field. I can never halve the
field, make a helix of my hands and hold the

like pictures of the field—or fields—and affix one
feeling to the fields—or the infinite field—and stay
that way

I can walk down to the bog, the field
under-foliate-feet, in a bloodflow motion towards
the beating

of the bullfrogs’ black-lacteous tactile pool and
listen to the unilluminable below-surface stirring,

gravid ruckus of drooling purr and primordial bluebrown
blur. I can aggravate the grating godhood and glisten

of preening slime—its opaque, plumbeous,
tympanic slurps—an inside-outside alertness

burrowing, harping with pings and plops
(lurches), and make the mossy froth go
berserk with silence,

then foofaraw when the bog in the field senses I am
nothing to fear. I can hear amphibious amour fou

under a blue-green gasoline film, spongiform but
formless, boiling with blotched air-bubble let-go, life

the surface in slicks of upward rain and glossopalatine
pops and liquid crop circles. I can stop here and

in time with the bobolink and make my bel
memento, my untremendous tremolo and
rinky-dink dictation.

In the fable, the animal smells fear and so does the
fool. I think to myself—in my skull’s skeletal

I am both. I am both. I am both, and I can hold it

Copyright © 2020 by Kristina Martino. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.


Copyright © 2019 by Orlando White. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 21, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

MacNolia Cox

in cho • ate (♥) adj. Only begun or entered upon; incipient. As when ribbons of light peer through inchoate air, before the thought of loss or love come into focus, as when the first glance of a stranger brushes over you, and, for that breath of time, you wonder if time has double-crossed you; you wonder if this could be the start of a new ending, or if this look—this probe up your spine, this eye on your leg, neck, lips, hair—could come from a ghost of someone—someone, mind you, who you thought you deserved; someone, mind you, who taught you how not to love—whose hand opens like your mouth once did while saying, with innocence, Yes, over and over again.

From M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A: Poems by A. Van Jordan. Copyright © 2004 by A. Van Jordan. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.