Michael T Young – The One In Power

Michael T Young He had a dog that failedto come when he called,so had it executedand stuffed.He likes to squeezethe pinched neckof an hourglassto imagine himselfstrangling time.In his garden, treesare cultivated to bowtoward the main pathso it seems, as he passes,even nature obeys him.To calm his nerves,he’ll sit in bed at nightwith a dictionary,crossing out …

Jane Hirshfield – Mountainal

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) This first-light mountain, its east peak and west peak.Its first-light creeks:Lagunitas, Redwood, Fern. Their fishes and mosses.Its night and day hawk-life, slope-life, fogs, coyote, tan oaks,white-speckled amanita. Its spiderwebs’ sequins.To be personal is easy:Wake. Slip arms and legs from sleep into name, into story.I wanted to be mountainal, wateral, …

Virgil Suárez – Bad Sons Anonymous

Virgil Suárez At this year’s conventionwe gather to pay homageto our fathers, responsiblemen who worked hard: laborers, stone cutters, welders,carpenters — blue collar all,men who raged, stormedtheir anger through the house, our mothers couldn’t manage,swept with brooms the debrisof broken things, in silencethey took it out on us, belts in hand, we stood there, cried,long …

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer – The Afternoon the World Health Organization Declared the Pandemic

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer That was the afternoonwe watched the avalanches—dozens and dozens of themflowing over the cliff bands.How beautiful they werefrom a distance—bright falls of billowing snow.They began as dark rumble,then burst into plume, into rush.Unstoppable they were.Powerful. Inevitable.Such a gift to feel humbled,to exult in forcesgreater than our own. Later that night, readingthe tumbling …

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) The tide rises, the tide falls,The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;Along the sea-sands damp and brownThe traveller hastens toward the town,    And the tide rises, the tide falls.Darkness settles on roofs and walls,But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;The little waves, with …

Marilyn Nelson – The Children’s Moon

Marilyn Nelson (April 26, 1946 -) In my navy shirtwaist dress and three-inch heels,my pearl clip-ons and newly red-rinsed curls,I smoothed on lipstick, lipstick-marked my girls,saluted and held thumbs-up to my darling Mel,and drove myself to school for the first day.Over the schoolyard a silver lozengedissolved into the morning’s blue cauldron.Enter twenty seven-year-old white children.Look, …

David Graham – Listening for Your Name

David Graham As a father steals into his child's half-lit bedroomslowly, quietly, standing long and longcounting the breaths before finally slippingback out, taking care not to wake her,and as that night-lit child is fully awake the wholetime, with closed eyes, measured breathing,savoring a delicious blessing she couldn'tname but will remember her whole life,how often we …

William Ernest Henley – Invictus

William Ernest Henley (August 23, 1849 – July 11, 1903) Out of the night that covers me,       Black as the pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may be       For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance       I have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chance       My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this …

JR Solonche – The Clouds

JR Solonche Nothing disturbs them,the clouds, stoics,philosophers, sages,graybeards of the sky.Not even this jet,that streaks throughthem, that shredsthe silence likea silver shark,disturbs their slow,slow, mindful walk on air.

Margaret Atwood – Flatline

Margaret Atwood (November 18, 1939 -) Things wear out. Also fingers.Gnarling sets in.Your hands crouch in their mittens.Forget chopsticks, and buttons.Feet have their own agendas.They scorn your taste in shoesand ignore your trails, your maps.Ears are superfluous:What are they for,those alien pink flaps?Skull fungus.The body, once your accomplice,is now your trap.The sunrise makes you wince:too …

Jessica Cohn – Spring

Jessica Cohn It was the spring when dry goodsheld our fascination. We bottled goldhand-pumped mucous. Toilet paperbecame currency. The cut of ethylalcohol sharpened elbows. We tookour contact in fluid ounces, returnedto fire escapes, back steps, the oppositeside of the street. The public squareemptied, and the crosswalk followed.Masters of airports called the airplaneshome. The cars stopped …