Copyright © 2017 by Sarah Browning. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 22, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations. Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies like a snowflake falling on water. Below us, some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death, snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn back into the little system of his care. All night, the cities, like shimmering novas, tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.
From Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985 by Ted Kooser, © 1980. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.
The little red jewel in the bottom of your wineglass
is so lovely I cannot rinse it out,
so I go into the cool and grassy air to smoke.
Which is your warmly lit house
past which no soldiers march to take the country back?
When you reached across the table to touch my hand
is not attainable. I cannot recapture it.
And no gunners lean on their artillery at the city’s edge,
looking our direction,
having shot the sky full of bright holes.
The light bleeds from them
and it always will.
Long ago, they captured our city
and now they are our neighbors,
going about their business like they were
one of us.
Soon, like you, they will be asleep,
having washed the dishes and turned out the kitchen lights.
When I inhale, smoke occupies me.
When I exhale—
By morning the wine in the bottom of your glass
will have clotted.
I’m sorry I called it a jewel.
It is not the soldiers who have shot me full of holes.
It is not light that pours out.
Love did this.
I was filled with wine.
Now I am drained of it.
Copyright © 2016 by Kevin Prufer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 29, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
Copyright © 2017 by Ed Falco. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 24, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
Copyright © 2017 by Marilyn Chin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 21, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.