a frog in the currants
thirsty, he said, so we flicked water on it
& it sat still throat pulsing
bright-greener than the stem, feet spread, attached to the stem
Three people one frog thousands of currants
Basho, anyone, why write it down
Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Fishman. Used with permission of the author.
magazines from a lost month litter the end
tables. A pretty nurse
pops her head in and says,
The doctor will see you now, though not
to you, and no one stands up—you are
the only one waiting.
But soon the doctor will cast the long shadow
of his diagnosis. You’ve got
a thorn in your paw, a toothache, chronic
wide eyes, fear of fear
of fear itself, time on your hands
slipping between your fingers,
lost lust, purgatory, online pain, short
the tendency to list: short, fat, and forlorn,
ever inoperable . . . O to have
a nurse of your very own, a time-angel, someone
on the one and only payroll
to pass you the pill it’s always time to take, whose
rear your eyes can follow
to Happytown. But now, here, however,
you are skimming an article
about the viral video that sank New York,
then a profile of the man
who played the real-life Michael Jackson.
An article on who really profits
from most chilly wind. On the truth about
close friendship. On ten safe things
to open your mind to. You are an
Elizabeth! You are one of them!
Soon someone will call you in.
From The Trembling Answers. Copyright © 2017 by Craig Morgan Teicher. Used with permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
Poetry used by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
This poem is in the public domain.
letter to my transgender daughter
I made soup tonight, with cabbage, chard
and thyme picked outside our back door.
For this moment the room is warm and light,
and I can presume you safe somewhere.
I know the night lives inside you. I know grave,
sad errors were made, dividing you, and hiding
you from you inside. I know a girl like you
was knifed last week, another set aflame.
I know I lack the words, or all the words I say
are wrong. I know I’ll call and you won’t answer,
and still I’ll call. I want to tell you
you were loved with all I had, recklessly,
and with abandon, loved the way the cabbage
in my garden near-inverts itself, splayed
to catch each last ray of sun. And how
the feeling furling-in only makes the heart
more dense and green. Tonight it seems like
something one could bear.
Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.
Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Foust. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 25, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
But if they’d give us toys and twice the stuff
most parents splurge on the average kid,
orphans, I submit, need more than enough;
in fact, stacks wrapped with our names nearly hid
the tree where sparkling allotments yearly
guaranteed a lack of—what?—family?—
I knew exactly what it was I missed:
(did each boy there feel the same denials?)
to share my pals’ tearing open their piles
meant sealing the self, the child that wanted
to scream at all You stole those gifts from me;
whose birthday is worth such words? The wish-lists
they’d made us write out in May lay granted
against starred branches. I said I’m sorry.
From I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems 1960-2014 by Bill Knott, edited by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2017 by The Estate of Bill Knott. Reprinted/Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes published by Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated. All rights reserved.