Sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling
so I check my phone or squint at the window
with a serious look, like someone in a movie
or a mother thinking about how time passes.
Sometimes I’m not sure how to feel so I think
about a lot of things until I get an allergy attack.
I take my antihistamine with beer, thank you very much,
sleep like a cut under a band aid, wake up
on the stairs having missed the entire party.
It was a real blast, I can tell, for all the vases
are broken, the flowers twisted into crowns
for the young, drunk, and beautiful. I put one on
and salute the moon, the lone face over me
shining through the grates on the front door window.
You have seen me like this before, such a strange
version of the person you thought you knew.
Guess what, I’m strange to us both. It’s like
I’m not even me sometimes. Who am I? A question
for the Lord only to decide as She looks over
my résumé. Everything is different sometimes.
Sometimes there is no hand on my shoulder
but my room, my apartment, my body are containers
and I am thusly contained. How easy to forget
the obvious. The walls, blankets, sunlight, your love.
Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Siegel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 8, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
You, rare as Georgia
spell that catches
us by surprise.
The too-early blooms,
tricked, gardenias blown about,
circling wind. Green figs.
Nothing stays. I want
to watch you walk
the hall to the cold tile
night, a lifetime.
From Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995–2015. Copyright © 2016 Kevin Young. Reprinted with the permission of Alfred A. Knopf.
The name of this technique,
Then pressed his mouth
to her collarbone,
pressed his mouth
broke the window.
Copyright © 2014 by Nicole Callihan. “Lesson Three” was published in SuperLoop (Sock Monkey Press, 2014). Used with permission of the author.
because you’re psychic
no one else could understand me
the way you
I say it to you silently
but it calls forth in me
the water for you
the water you asked for
Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Wolff. Used with permission of the author.
A wave of love for you just knocked me off my chair
I will love you and love you
I will reach out my hand to you in the noise of carhorns and merengue and pull you close by the waist
I will call you my museum of everything always
I will call you MDMA
I love you ecstatic exalted sublime
I wish you were here—there's an enormous cloud sitting off in the distance
It's a beautiful walk from there to my place
I'm buzzing but the buzzer may not be working
There's a raccoon rearing on hind legs twitching its nose from behind a short fence
Let me stew you some tomatoes
As long as I keep moving the overtones don't jackhammer my skull
I am waiting for something very very good
My phone is like, what, I'm a phone
Previously published in Gulf Coast. Copyright © 2010 by Jordan Davis. Used with permission of the author.
When, at the end, the children wanted
to add glitter to their valentines, I said no.
I said nope, no, no glitter, and then,
when they started to fuss, I found myself
saying something my brother’s football coach
used to bark from the sidelines when one
of his players showed signs of being
human: oh come on now, suck it up.
That’s what I said to my children.
Suck what up? my daughter asked,
and, because she is so young, I told her
I didn’t know and never mind, and she took
that for an answer. My children are so young
when I turn off the radio as the news turns
to counting the dead or naming the act,
they aren’t even suspicious. My children
are so young they cannot imagine a world
like the one they live in. Their God is still
a real God, a whole God, a God made wholly
of actions. And I think they think I work
for that God. And I know they will someday soon
see everything and they will know about
everything and they will no longer take
never mind for an answer. The valentines
would’ve been better with glitter, and my son
hurt himself on an envelope, and then, much
later, when we were eating dinner, my daughter
realized she’d forgotten one of the three
Henrys in her class. How can there be three Henrys
in one class? I said, and she said, Because there are.
And so, before bed we took everything out
again—paper and pens and stamps and scissors—
and she sat at the table with her freshly washed hair
parted smartly down the middle and wrote
WILL YOU BE MINE, HENRY T.? and she did it
so carefully, I could hardly stand to watch.
Copyright © 2019 by Carrie Fountain. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.
I think a lot about the character everybody wanted to put babies inside of
a lot about cracked statues recovered satellites
I think a lot about voyager
I think a lot about gold
I think a lot about that thing the fork is going into
Are you ever the thing the fork is going into?
Are you ever driving through cotton fields at night
and everything around you is a pillow?
What words are you whispering into my pillow?
What words cast the spell that puts the babies inside of me?
What words make the moon just something good to look at but no place to go?
If I’m looking at my window and hear the hawk, is that the signal?
I think a lot about the longer my hair grows, the farther you are
about your face in my hair
I think a lot about becoming a pill you can swallow
I think a lot about growing my hair into a tent
Copyright © 2018 by Emily Hunerwadel. This poem originally appeared in Professional Crybaby (Poetry Society of America, 2018). Used with permission of the author.