Ariel Francisco – Along The East River And In The Bronx Young Men Were Singing

Ariel Francisco I heard them and I still hear themabove the threatening shrieks of police sirensabove the honking horns of morning traffic,above the home-crowd cheers of Yankee Stadiumabove the school bells and laughterlighting up the afternoonabove the clamoring trudge of the 1 trainand the 2 and 4, 5, 6, the B and the Dabove the …

Eleanor Wilner – When Vision Narrows To A Single Beam of Light

Eleanor Rand Wilner For years he had been hidden, quiet,huge head on his paws,almost a sphinx in his composure,a figure waitingfor a breeze to move the densegreen canopy of leaves overhead,enough to bring a hair-thin laser lineof light downinto the endless twilightbelow;he had been patient, waitingfor the underbrush to open, for a lowwind to enter, …

Phillip Lopate – It’s Good We Only See Each Other Once a Week

Phillip Lopate It's good we only see each other once a week.A young man about to move in with his fiancéedied of a sudden heart attack at twenty-six.One hears these stories all the time.The heart is trained to handle deprivation,not unforeseen happiness. Just as when youthrow your arms around me I start to overflow,but then …

Elizabeth Gaskell – On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (September 29, 1810 – November 12, 1865) Sunday July 4th 1836 I made a vow within my soul, O Child,When thou wert laid beside my weary heart,With marks of death on every tender partThat, if in time a living infant smiled,Winning my ear with gentle sounds of loveIn sunshine of such joy, …

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer – The Price of Nothing

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer What could be more valuablethan nothing? The nothing thatframes “The Thinker,” the nothingthat holds every bowl,every vase, every bust, every thought.Let others buy the clay, the steel,the papier-mâché. I will be satisfiedwith nothing more than nothing.Nothing pleases me. Nothingenchants me. Nothing,as Heisenberg says,has a weight. Just thinkof the space here beside mewhere …

Tracy K Smith – I Sit Outside In Low Late Afternoon Light To Feel Earth Call To Me

Tracy K Smith (April 16, 1972 -) I wish it would grab me by the ankles and pull.I wish its shadow would dance up close, closing in.When I close my eyes a presence forms, backs away.I float above a lake, am dragged backfrom a portion of sky. Down, down, the falling doesn’t end.Every marked body …

Anya Krugovoy Silver – Red Never Lasts

Anya Krugovoy Silver (December 22, 1968 – August 6, 2018) There’s no doubt it’s the most glamorous,the one you reach for first—its luscious gloss.Russian Roulette, First Dance, Apéritif, Cherry Pop.For three days, your nails are a Ferris wheel,a field of roses, a flashing neon Open sign.Whatever you’re wearing feels like a tight dressand your hair …

Lisel Mueller – Brendel Playing Schubert

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) We bring our hands togetherin applause, that absurd noise,when we want to be silent. We might as wellbe banging pots and pans,it is that jarring, a violationof the music we've listened towithout moving, almost holding our breath.The pianist in his blindinglywhite summer jacket bowsand disappears and …

Dorianne Laux – Against Endings

Dorianne Laux (January 10, 1952 -) On the street outside the windowsomeone is talking to someone else,a baffling song, no words, only the musicof voices—low contralto of questions,laughter’s plucked strings—voices in darknessbelow stars where someone straddles a bikeup on the balls of his feet, and someone elsestands firm on a curb, her arms crossed, twodogs …