Published on Academy of American Poets (


              it’s true sometimes I cannot
stop myself from spilling
              the recycling
unpetalling apple blossoms raiding
a picnic
making off with napkins I’m nothing
              until I happen
flipping an umbrella outside-in
                      throwing its owner
              into a fumble
pelting the avenue with sleet or dust
at times downtown
              riding over galleries of air
so full of high excitement howling
I borrow an old woman’s hat
              and fling it into the road
arriving with news of the larkspur
              and the bumblebee
at times embracing you so lightly
in ways you don’t even register
              as touch


Copyright © 2017 by James Arthur. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 21, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote this poem in Ameliasburgh, Ontario, while staying in the A-frame that the Canadian poet Al Purdy and his wife Eurithe built, mostly out of salvaged lumber, on the edge of Roblin Lake. The lake itself isn’t very deep—Purdy called it ‘a backwater puddle’—but some days the wind was strong enough to create waves that splashed and broke against the stones at the water’s edge. At night, hearing wind gust over the A-frame’s roof, I could imagine the weather as a kind of invisible companion.”
—James Arthur


James Arthur

James Arthur is the author of Charms Against Lightning (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). He teaches at Johns Hopkins University and lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Date Published: 2017-09-21

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