Gravity, by Kim Addonizio
Carrying my daughter to bed
I remember how light she once was,
no more than a husk in my arms.
There was a time I could not put her down,
so frantic was her crying if I tried
to pry her from me, so I held her
for hours at night, walking up and down the hall,
willing her to fall asleep. She’d grow quiet,
pressed against me, her small being alert
to each sound, the tension in my arms, she’d take
my nipple and gaze up at me,
blinking back fatigue she’d fight whatever terror
waited beyond my body in her dark crib. Now
that she’s so heavy I stagger beneath her,
she slips easily from me, down
into her own dreaming. I stand over her bed,
fixed there like a second, dimmer star,
though the stars are not fixed: someone
once carried the weight of my life.
Category Archives: Book Reviews
Gravity, by Kim Addonizio
Ars Poetica, by Aracelis Girmay
May the poems be
the little snail’s trail.
Everywhere I go,
every inch: quiet record
of the foot’s silver prayer.
I lived once.
It was here.
Thanks to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.
For more information on Aracelis Girmay, please click here.
The Copper Beech, by Marie Howe
Immense, entirely itself,
it wore that yard like a dress,
with limbs low enough for me to enter it
and climb the crooked ladder to where
I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.
One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell
darkening the sidewalk.
Sitting close to the center, not very high in the branches,
I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,
watching it happen without it happening to me.
A big thank you to Alison for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.
For more information about Marie Howe, please check out her website.
Calling Him Back from Layoff, by Bob Hicok
I called a man today. After he said
hello and I said hello came a pause
during which it would have been
confusing to say hello again so I said
how are you doing and guess what, he said
fine and wondered aloud how I was
and it turns out I’m OK. He
was on the couch watching cars
painted with ads for Budweiser follow cars
painted with ads for Tide around an oval
that’s a metaphor for life because
most of us run out of gas and settle
for getting drunk in the stands
and shouting at someone in a t-shirt
we want kraut on our dog. I said
he could have his job back and during
the pause that followed his whiskers
scrubbed the mouthpiece clean
and his breath passed in and out
in the tidal fashion popular
with mammals until he broke through
with the words how soon thank you
ohmyGod which crossed his lips and drove
through the wires on the backs of ions
as one long word as one hard prayer
of relief meant to be heard
by the sky. When he began to cry I tried
with the shape of my silence to say
I understood but each confession
of fear and poverty was more awkward
than what you learn in the shower.
After he hung up I went outside and sat
with one hand in the bower of the other
and thought if I turn my head to the left
it changes the song of the oriole
and if I give a job to one stomach other
forks are naked and if tonight a steak
sizzles in his kitchen do the seven
other people staring at their phones
A big thanks to Alison for sharing these heartbreaking poems.
For more information on Bob Hicok, please click here.
To listen to Words by Winter, my new poem and storytelling podcast, click here.
True Enough, by Jim Moore
I have forgotten many things.
But I do remember
the bank of clover along the freeway
we were passing thirty years ago
when someone I loved made clear to me
it was over.
For more information about poet Jim Moore, please check out his website.
Thanks as always to Alison for sharing these beautiful poems. Visit Alison here.
Sorrow Is Not My Name, by Ross Gay
—after Gwendolyn Brooks
No matter the pull toward brink. No
matter the florid, deep sleep awaits.
There is a time for everything. Look,
just this morning a vulture
nodded his red, grizzled head at me,
and I looked at him, admiring
the sickle of his beak.
Then the wind kicked up, and,
after arranging that good suit of feathers
he up and took off.
Just like that. And to boot,
there are, on this planet alone, something like two
million naturally occurring sweet things,
some with names so generous as to kick
the steel from my knees: agave, persimmon,
stick ball, the purple okra I bought for two bucks
at the market. Think of that. The long night,
the skeleton in the mirror, the man behind me
on the bus taking notes, yeah, yeah.
But look; my niece is running through a field
calling my name. My neighbor sings like an angel
and at the end of my block is a basketball court.
I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.
—for Walter Aikens
For more information about Ross Gay, please check out his website.
Thanks to Alison for being such a fine treasure hunter.
Find out more about Alison here.
Hanging out with musicians, still in my suit, by Tom Sastry
He said fucking and that was important:
“We’re all fucking broken.”
He said it gently
like a priest, soothing the smart of sin.
I hadn’t heard about it before
this shared brokenness
and it was new to me, this idea
that being in pieces could bring us together
so my mind worked through all the things he might mean
like the fourteen-stone word-association machine that I am
I remembered all the world’s once-complete, now-shattered things
until I couldn’t get it out of my head
that we were broken like jigsaws
fucking broken like fucking jigsaws
and it felt right and wise and true.
For more information about Tom Sastry, please click here.
Twitter and Instagram: @alisonmcgheewriter
New Restrictions, by Dean Young
It doesn’t matter how many
Wallace Stevens poems you’ve memorized
or if you had sex in the graveyard
like an upside-down puppet
or painted your apartment red
so it feels like sleeping inside a heart
or the trees were frozen with ravens
which you sent pictures of to everyone you know
or your pie dough’s perfect
or you once ran a sub-5-minute mile
or you’re on the last draft
of your mystery novel and still
don’t know if the vicar did it
or every morning that summer
you saw a fox stepping through the fog
but it got no closer
or once you helped drag a deer
off the road by the antler
or which song comes from which side
of your mouth as you drive
all night all night all night
or how deep and long you carry
a hitch in your breath after crying
or shot a man in Tennessee
or were so happy in France
or left your favorite scarf in a café,
the one with the birds and terrible art
or the Klimt
or you call your mother once a week
even after she’s dead
or can’t see a swan without panic
or have almost figured out
what happened to you as a child,
urge, urge, nothing but urge
or 600 daffodils
or a knife in the glove box
or a butterfly on a bell,
you can’t park here.
Clearing, by Martha Postlethwaite
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.
For more information about Martha Postlethwaite, please click here.
Thanks so much to Alison for finding and sharing these poems.
Canoe, by Alison Luterman
When I was young, years ago, canoeing on the green
Green River, with my young first husband,
I wriggled out of my shorts, eased over the lip
of our little boat, and became eel-woman,
naked and glistening, borne along in the current.
He paddled, I floated and spun,
and let the ripples take me.
Even an hour of that kind of freedom
can last for years and years,
can become a touchstone you return to
long after the rented canoe has been returned,
and the road trip has ended, and then the marriage,
and then the husband’s brief life, and you yourself
have become someone else entirely; still
you return in your mind to the days
you could set up a tent in the dark,
and build a small fire
from birch bark and newspaper
and sit beside it, sipping tea, savoring your muscles’ sweet ache,
as one by one the uncountable stars came out.
A big thanks to Alison McGhee for finding and sharing these beautiful poems.