By James Applewhite

The low river flows like smoked glass.
Small bass guard their nest. Next
To our house, the cardinals in their
Crabapple feed two open mouths.
Parent and offspring, we flex
And swing in this future’s coming,
Mirror we look into only darkly.
My youngest is boarding an airplane
To a New York he’s never seen.
Raised in such slumberous innocence
Of Bible schools and lemonade,
I adjust poorly to this thirst for
Fame, this electronic buzz prizing
Brilliance and murderers. Oh son,
Know that the psyche has its own
Fame, whether known or not, that
Soul can flame like feathers of a bird.
Grow into your own plumage, brightly,
So that any tree is a marvelous city.
I wave from here by this Indian Eno,
Whose lonely name I make known.

by Sharon Olds

She was so small I would scan the crib a half-second
to find her, face-down in a corner, limp
as something gently flung down, or fallen
from some sky an inch above the mattress. I would
tuck her arm along her side
and slowly turn her over. She would tumble
over part by…

“…the world of poems could be divided into two large camps: the classically wrought, well-behaved, shapely poem, and the deformed, lopsided, zany, and subversive poem. Of course, most poems don’t exclusively belong to either category — they are neither Democrats or Republicans; they don’t wear jerseys stenciled with A for Apollonian or D for Dionysian. Any good poem is an act of taming the savage or savaging the tame. Even the best-mannered poem holds certain opposing energies in dynamic balance and bulges with the effort. Likewise, poems admirable for their lack of orthodontia obviously possess qualities of integrity and unity, of proportion, that make them recognizable as poems.”
— Tony Hoagland,
“On Disproportion,” Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft (Graywolf, 2006)

by Anne Carson

In the beginning there were days set aside for various tasks.
On the day He was to create justice
God got involved in making a dragonfly

and lost track of time.
It was about two inches long
with turquoise dots all down its back like Lauren Bacall.

God watched it bend its tiny wire elbows
as it set about cleaning the transparent case of its head.
The eye globes mounted on the case

rotated this way and that
as it polished every angle.
Inside the case

which was glassy black like the windows of a downtown bank
God could see the machinery humming
and He watched the hum

travel all the way down turquoise dots to the end of the tail
and breathe off as light.
Its black wings vibrated in and out.

by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

By Marie Howe

One day the patterned carpet, the folding chairs,
the woman in the blue suit by the door examining her split ends,

all of it will go on without me. I’ll have disappeared,
as easily as a coin under lake water, and few to notice the difference

—…

by Matthew Dickman

Olive seashells
in the air
you can eat.

The very inner of the inner ear
in the breeze.

Last night my son dreamt
about falling
out of trees.

I had almost forgotten
that we were

simians.

The fiddlehead turns
on itself but only ever in love.

Green cinnamon roll,
a snake too small to hunt

anyone.
Curled in like my son’s
fingers, his fists.

More beautiful than
a spider fern,

spun-in island,
moldy tongue of a hippopotamus,

the eye of the forest.

When my son wakes up
screaming

I don’t pick him up
right away.

I tell him where he is and who
I am.

At night all the fiddlehead
wants to do is sleep.

When I sleep
I dream about death adders curling

around his soft
body,

all of us making the same kinds of sounds.

by Frank X Gaspar

Well, the cold iron wind and the Hudson River from whence it blew,
thirteen degrees on all the instruments and water in my eyes, but
there was a fire someplace, it made my ears burn and sting, and me
buffoonish in my old dirty down parka that I used…

by Sharon Olds

By now, my mother has been pulled to the top
of many small waves, carried in the curve that curls
over, onto itself, and unknots,
again, into the liquid plain,
as her ions had been gathered from appearances
and concepts. And her dividend,
her irreducible, like violet
down, thrown to the seals, starfish,
wolf spiders…

by William Stafford

Closing the book, I find I have left my head
inside. It is dark in here, but the chapters open
their beautiful spaces and give a rustling sound,
words adjusting themselves to their meaning.
Long passages open at successive pages. An echo,
continuous from the title onward, hums
behind me. From in here the world looms,
a jungle redeemed by these linked sentences
carved out when an author traveled and a reader
kept the way open. When this book ends
I will pull it inside-out like a sock
and throw it back in the library. But the rumor
of it will haunt all that follows in my life.
A candleflame in Tibet leans when I move.

Tara Everhart

Holacracy Consultant and Thinker, Non-Violent Communication Practitioner, Writer of Poetry

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