Published on Academy of American Poets (


5 AM—the world is silent save for the heater 
in the hallway, the cars wooshing
down the main road, the vibrato of
every single driver. Every creak of a settling
house. Lay my head down, press it into pillow.
On the window sill a jar of coins,
sunlight crawling through the
water in an empty spaghetti jar.
A spider settles itself into the warmth
of my house. Inside the body: ghosts
of IVs, needles, feeling
breathless in a hospital bed. 
Somewhere inside my brain aware 
of the machine pumping oxygen,
beeping, attached by wires to the chest.
In the chest, an animal. The animal
forgetting how: to howl, to crawl, 
to find the words.


Copyright © 2021 by Margarita Cruz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 18, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“At the very beginning of the pandemic, I was hospitalized throughout March due to a pericardial effusion. After I began rehabilitation, I challenged myself to write a poem each day for the next year following the writing prompt Chelsey Johnson had given the Northern Arizona University MFA program I was attending at the time as a way to document and derive meaning from the torn world. Everything had changed after the surgery, and I was paying attention to my heart in a very different way than I had ever before. This was one of those early poems I wrote upon trying to listen to my new world.”
Margarita Cruz


Margarita Cruz

Margarita Cruz is the author of the chapbook Amerixana (Ignite Press, 2021). She currently writes for Flagstaff Live!, and serves as Vice President of the Northern Arizona Book Festival, and as Assistant Editor for Tolsun Books.

Date Published: 2021-06-18

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