Poetry Near You

Find poetry readings, workshops, festivals, conferences, literary organizations, and poetry-friendly bookstores, and learn more about poets laureate, in your area.

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See a list of all state poets laureate.

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The Remarkable Objectivity of Your Old Friends


We did right by your death and went out,
Right away, to a public place to drink,
To be with each other, to face it.

We called other friends—the ones
Your mother hadn't called—and told them
What you had decided, and some said

What you did was right; it was the thing
You wanted and we'd just have to live
With that, that your life had been one

Long misery and they could see why you
Had chosen that, no matter what any of us
Thought about it, and anyway, one said,

Most of us abandoned each other a long
Time ago and we'd have to face that
If we had any hope of getting it right.

Why Seek the Dead among the Living?

As hollow as a gutted fish, a hole in the sand,
a cistern cracked along the seam—

There is no filling such emptiness. And yet—

Stitch it shut. Pour and pour, if you wish. Wish and wish, but it’s wasted—
Water carried to the garden in your cupped palms.

Might as well seal an ember in a wax jar. Kindle fire on the crest of a wave.

Unbloom a poppy, reshut its mouth, unred its lips—
As if it hadn’t already sung,

As if its voice hadn’t already set all summer singing.

And the gall at its throat, the boil it’s prized for,
Hadn’t been cut and bled of its white sleep.

As if a child could be folded, resewn in its sac, and returned to its womb.