Rebecca Elson – Antidotes To The Fear Of Death

Rebecca Anne Wood Elson (January 02, 1960 – May 19, 1999) Sometimes as an antidoteTo fear of death,I eat the starsThose nights, lying on my back,I suck them from the quenching darkTil they are all, all inside me,Pepper hot and sharp.Sometimes, instead, I stir myselfInto a universe still young,Still warm as blood:No outer space, just …

Derek Walcott – The Light of the World

Derek Alton Walcott (January 23, 1930 – March 17, 2017) “Zion-ah,                I’ve got to have Zion-ah,                I’ve got to have Zion-ahFor the rain is falling” —Bob Marley Marley was rocking on the transport’s stereoand the beauty was humming the choruses quietly.I could see where the lights on the planes of her cheekstreaked and defined them, if this …

Ron Padgett – A Small Glass of Orange Juice

Ron Padgett (June 17, 1942 -) on a white tableclothwith light blue legs belowin a hotel restaurantin a small town in Polandin 1936is being contemplatedby a manwhose homburgis tiltedat an angleparallel to thatof the pictureon the wallbehind him,a mountain scenewith forest belowin which a lone deerhas turned to look at us.

Jane Hirshfield – I Wanted To Be Surprised

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) To such a request, the world is obliging.Just in the past week, a rotund porcupine,who seemed equally startled by me.The man who swallowed a tiny microphoneto record the sounds of his body,not considering beforehand how he might remove it.A cabbage and mustard sandwich on marbled bread.How easily the large …

Ajay Kumar – An Index Of Visitors

Ajay Kumar I’ve seen something like this somewhere, all the time.white, black & red the first colors. as we enter november,the weather turns december. as it was june, it was also may.remember, all the buildings blurring by to the next station.remember the index of visitors, the middle-finger ring-fingers,singers whose songs were just extended foreplays.an old …

Nikki Giovanni – My First Memory (Of Librarians)

Nikki Giovanni (June 07, 1943 -) This is my first memory:A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky       wood floorA line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the centerHeavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply       too short              For me to sit in and readSo my first book was always big In …

Oliver de la Paz – In Defense of Small Towns

Oliver de la Paz When I look at it, it’s simple, really. I hated life there. September,once filled with animal deaths and toughened hay. And the smellsof fall were boiled-down beets and potatoesor the farmhands’ breeches smeared with oil and dieselas they rode into town, dusty and pissed. The radio stationsplit time between metal and …

Lisel Mueller – Immortality

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924–February 21, 2020) In Sleeping Beauty’s castlethe clock strikes one hundred yearsand the girl in the tower returns to the world.So do the servants in the kitchen,who don’t even rub their eyes.The cook’s right hand, liftedan exact century ago,completes its downward arcto the kitchen boy’s left ear;the boy’s tensed vocal cordsfinally …

Naomi Shihab Nye – World Of The Future, We Thirsted

Naomi Shihab Nye (March 12, 1952 -) Stripped of a sense of well-being,we downed our water from small disposable bottles.Casting the plastic to streetside,we poured high-potency energy tonics or Cokedown our throats, because this time in historyhad sapped us so thoroughly andwe were desperate.Straws, plastic caps, crushed cans,in a three-block walk you could fill a …

Patricia Carroll Mathes – Another Lovely Day

Patricia Carroll Mathes (January 20, 1943 -) Thank you for another lovely day,”you said, as we drove to yet anothertemporary lodging.These days are hard,but you make them easier.The smoke that permeates our clothes,the darkened rooms smelling of disaster.The charred remains of two livesloving books, music, and art.Two sisters, the sweet and the serious,resident ladies of …

Jane Hirshfield – Advice To Myself

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) The computer fileof whichI have no recollectionis labeled "advice to myself''I click it openlookscroll further downthe screenstays backlit and emptythus I meet myself againhopeful and uselessa mysteryprecisely as I musthave doneon August 19, 2010, 11:08 a.m.

Cindy King – When Your Mother Asks If You’re Seeing Anyone

Cindy King It’s tough to find a cardiologist who datespatients from the Ward of Cracked Hearts, butthere’s always the bariatric surgeonwho thinks you could drop a few pounds. If it’s too latefor the death row inmate, try the child predator, you toocould date the would-be senator, or even the President of the United States.If you …