Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Crush by Ada Limón

Maybe my limbs are made
mostly for decoration,
like the way I feel about
persimmons. You can’t
really eat them. Or you
wouldn’t want to. If you grab
the soft skin with your fist
it somehow feels funny,
like you’ve been here
before and uncomfortable,
too, like you’d rather
squish it between your teeth
impatiently, before spitting
the soft parts back up
to linger on the tongue like
burnt sugar or guilt.
For starters, it was all
an accident, you cut
the right branch
and a sort of light
woke up underneath,
and the inedible fruit
grew dark and needy.
Think crucial hanging.
Think crayon orange.
There is one low, leaning
heart-shaped globe left
and dearest, can you
tell, I am trying
to love you less.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Afternoon Sun by Constantine P. Cavafy

The Afternoon Sun
This room, how well I know it.
Now they’re renting it, and the one next to it,
as offices. The whole house has become
an office building for agents, businessmen, companies.
This room, how familiar it is.
The couch was here, near the door,
a Turkish carpet in front of it.
Close by, the shelf with two yellow vases.
On the right—no, opposite—a wardrobe with a mirror.
In the middle the table where he wrote,
and the three big wicker chairs.
Beside the window the bed
where we made love so many times.
They must still be around somewhere, those old things.
Beside the window the bed;
the afternoon sun used to touch half of it.
. . . One afternoon at four o’clock we separated
for a week only. . . And then—
that week became forever.
(Translated by Edmund Keeley)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Daylight Savings by Jill Bialosky

Daylight Savings

There was the hour
when raging with fever
they thrashed. The hour
when they called out in fright.
The hour when they fell asleep
against our bodies, the hour
when without us they might die.
The hour before school
and the hour after.
The hour when we buttered their toast
and made them meals
from the four important food groups—
what else could we do to ensure they’d get strong and grow?
There was the hour when we were spectators
at a recital, baseball game,
when they debuted in the school play.
There was the silent hour in the car
when they were angry. The hour
when they broke curfew. The hour
when we waited for the turn of the lock
knowing they were safe and we could finally
close our eyes and sleep. The hour
when they were hurt
or betrayed and there was nothing we could do
to ease the pain.
There was the hour
when we stood by their bedsides with ginger-ale
or juice until the fever broke. The hour
when we lost our temper and the hour
we were filled with regret. The hour
when we slapped their cheeks and held
our hand in wonder.
The hour when we wished for more.
The hour when their tall and strong bodies,
their newly formed curves and angles in their faces
and Adam’s apple surprised us—
who had they become?
Hours when we waited and waited.
When we rushed home from the office
or sat in their teacher’s classroom
awaiting the report of where they stumbled
and where they excelled, the hours
when they were without us, the precious hour
we did not want to lose each year
even if it meant another hour of daylight.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Happiness by Jane Kenyon


There’s just no accounting for happiness, 
or the way it turns up like a prodigal 
who comes back to the dust at your feet 
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive? 
You make a feast in honor of what 
was lost, and take from its place the finest 
garment, which you saved for an occasion 
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day 
to know that you were not abandoned, 
that happiness saved its most extreme form 
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never 
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane 
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes 
into town, and inquires at every door 
until he finds you asleep midafternoon 
as you so often are during the unmerciful 
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell. 
It comes to the woman sweeping the street 
with a birch broom, to the child 
whose mother has passed out from drink. 
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing 
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker, 
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots 
in the night. 
It even comes to the boulder 
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens, 
to rain falling on the open sea, 
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

Night Writing by Lori Desrosiers

Night Writing 

"ah, the desire, ah, the writing..."
—Anne Waldman

Writing past midnight as usual
I enter a poem with one idea,
end up writing another.
You are already asleep for hours.
I lie down beside you, reach out.
You hold my hand for a while,
then fall back to sleep, snoring.
My breasts are round as similes,
each nipple an exclamation point,
vagina warm as a slant rhyme,
my hands and fingers are verbs.
I come quietly beside you,
a flutter of breeze, a small wave.
My body freed of words,
your breath lulls me to sleep.