Most days come 
along like a child
kicking a stone

down an alley
or like the way
the mail lies

in the mailbox,
its flag up. But
sometimes as

you wander into
some old worlds,
you feel yourself

gliding on the morning,
maybe looking back
over your shoulder.

Ridl, Jack. “Likely” from Saint Peter and the Goldfinch. Copyright © 2019 Jack Ridl, with the permission of Wayne State University Press. 

I ask about what falls away.
I ask about where water sings.  
Here is surplus of sun, ocean  
of excess, remaindered song.  
Whose hands wash this sky?  
Who drains this sun against worry?  
Whose mighty ache makes history?  
This is where water drains,  
where gardens grow against  
worry, against the crisis of capital,  
& capital knows nothing but the  
veil hiding hand from profit. Here  
is leftover rice. & the wild imaginary  
of hunger. Here is a canal in  
the crook of the earth. & here is  
where water sings. & this, this  
is water singing us elsewhere. 

Copyright © 2023 by Jason Magabo Perez. This poem first appeared in the virtual exhibition “Profits Enslave the World: Philip Vera Cruz, the Manong Generation, and the Migrant Laborer Experience” by Welga Archive/Bulosan Center for Filipinx Studies, Fall 2020. Used with permission of the author.

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent—what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness—
between you, there is nothing to forgive—
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

It doesn’t matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.


Originally published in After (HarperCollins, 2006); all rights reserved. Copyright © by Jane Hirshfield. Reprinted with the permission of the author.