Published on Academy of American Poets (

from “Back on Earth”


look out
be well
do that
at least
for whatever
has hap-
Thy no longer
shall glimpse
things great-
say you
aren’t safe
well, no
you’re not
get your
your other
no one
can know
what thought
was for
what adva-
it gave
when time
was young
& speech
a distant
back on earth


Copyright © 2017 by Brent Cunningham. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 7, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem is from a numbered book-length series called “Back on Earth,” which I think of as a sequel to my previous book, Journey to the Sun. As the title indicates, the poems in the new book deal much more directly with matters of the here and now—my life, kids, my politics, my thinking as it chews through various interests. In terms of the form, I wanted to push how short a line could be. I thought, Well, isn’t the word the limit to how short a line can get? Then I remembered hyphenation. As to the subject matter, my interest in evolutionary and geological history comes through. I think I’m not alone in finding an odd comfort in long, planetary, and even extra-planetary, timelines right now.”
—Brent Cunningham


Brent Cunningham

Brent Cunningham is the author of two poetry collections and the chapbook The Sad Songs of Hell published by Ugly Duckling Presse in November 2017. 

Date Published: 2017-11-07

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