apricots & brown teeth in browner mouths nashing dates & a clementine’s underflesh under yellow nail & dates like auntie heads & the first time someone dried mango there was god & grandma’s Sunday only song & how the plums are better as plums dammit & i was wrong & a June’s worth of moons & the kiss stain of the berries & lord the prunes & the miracle of other people’s lives & none of my business & our hands sticky and a good empty & please please pass the bowl around again & the question of dried or ripe & the sex of grapes & too many dates & us us us us us & varied are the feast but so same the sound of love gorged & the women in the Y hijab a lily in the water & all of us who come from people who signed with x’s & yesterday made delicacy in the wrinkle of the fruit & at the end of my name begins the lot of us

Copyright © 2019 by Danez Smith. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 29, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

You named me for light. How we belong
in the little spaces carved for us, love

tucking us into a walnut shell hollow
where you’d take the tiniest brush and paint
a Christmas star along the concavity—

            Some days I’m a pendulum that exists on a planet
that periodically loses gravity. Some days

my light is spent, the light-years required
to travel back to myself too many.

Since you died I take tiny, redundant steps,
and, a, an. Articles on which I predicate
my survival.

I want to believe death is only a pause
in our continuous language. Stillness,

but what it means is cosmic change, that you and I
and the delicate spaces we drew into being

between us constitute a light source
that spears endlessly through a cloud-break

as hope lances inside
                 spherical borders.


From The Blue Mimes by Sara Daniele Rivera. Copyright © 2024 by Sara Daniele Rivera. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.  

and you used to be The Richard Bey Show 
and my sister’s spaghetti. Under a friar plum tree, 
a simplified reading of “The Argonautica.”
You kept me full and entertained. I was that kind 
of round child. Gorging on what was left over. 
I didn’t want a real burden, my own ship or story. 
I didn’t want to go on ahead. I didn’t want to 
have to reverse into you. Into your apparatus. 
I never wanted nostalgia. We used to know each other,
remember? Dry. Humid. Dry. Humid. 
Not. Humid. Dry. Humid. Dry. Humid. Dry.
Why did we have to pry open our patch of dirt? 
Why couldn’t you always be acid wash
or those I CAN’T DRIVE 55 posters at the swap meet 
or sunglasses. I never wanted to lay questions around 
you. What if he takes another this year? What if 
he’s difficult to talk my way out of? What if he eats me 
only half-alive? What if all he is in his beach bum
orange is ghosts clothespinned to the laundry line?

Copyright © 2023 by Gustavo Hernandez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 8, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.