SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
The use of words and details that appeal to a reader’s physical senses (sight, touch, taste, hearing, smell).
On TV it looked like a high-speed photo of a milk drop
the dying leader of the Pana Wave laboratory cult smack in the
Acres of white cloth streamered his followers, who
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died. But if she did, I knew
it would be as a lady in a long white dress.
It is strange that she has returned
as somebody's dalmatian. I meet
After the celebrations,
people, TV channels, telephones,
the year’s recently-corrected digit
finally falls asleep.
Between the final night and the first dawn
a jagged piece of sky
An eagle egg fell into a farmer’s chicken shed
and when it hatched the farmer gave it chicken feed
even though he was the king of birds. The farmer
clipped the eaglet’s princely beak and raised him
scurried around a classroom papered with poems.
Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase...
they introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage
to read their work, blessed their teacher who
Dad reads aloud. I follow his finger across the page.
Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.
He makes the Moon say something new every night
to his deaf son who slurs his speech.
I was a kid other kids’
parents gossiped about.
They told their children
what I was: too negative.
I get it. Fair to fear
contagion of bad attitudes,
Boyakka! Boyakka! Boyakka!
Shots rang out on my street today
Three Black yoots lay dead
shot inna dem head
some towers are made of cladding
some made of ivory
some burn in the night
some built by slaves
wind rushes through coarse hair
body aches between vertebrae
Do you believe in the ghosts of aunties and uncles that drive old sin-
gle-bench pickup trucks spotted with bullet-hole rust, sweetgrass and
My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
my mother found herself one late summer
afternoon lying in grass under the wild
yellow plum tree jewelled with sunlight
she was forgotten there in spring picking
rhubarb for pie & the children home from
The fish are drifting calmly in their tank
between the green reeds, lit by a white glow
that passes for the sun. Blindly, the blank
glass that holds them in displays their slow
can go to Bible study every Sunday
and swear she’s still not convinced,
but she likes to be around people who are.
We have the same conversation
every few years — I’ll ask her if she stops
a girl between two dialects
still a screen and still a searching, learns
the season of breakup
another word for spring
can come before or after
depending on where you grew up
online, back and forth
Leaves, asleep under wind:
a ship for the wound.
glories in these ruinous times.
Trees growing in our own eyelashes
a lake for the wound.
The wound shows up in bridges
To Windrim or sycamore
rustle cicada or bark and to Wayne
to rustle and psoas and psoas to Belmont and Germantown hills
hills as to nearer Plateau as to Central and whisper wall Indian
We’re driving and the radio says mass marine extinctions within a
generation. No silence, no sirens — an unflustered inflection, then
stock markets, cryptic as Latin mass. I force myself: the interval
When my mother died,
one of her honey cakes remained in the freezer.
I couldn’t bear to see it vanish,
so it waited, pardoned,
in its ice cave behind the metal trays
for two more years.
Men prefer an island
With its beginning ended:
Undertones of waves
Men prefer a road
Convex and fossiled
The trees I’ve glimpsed from the window
of a night train were
the saddest trees.
They seemed about to speak,
vanished like soldiers.
i thought it was ok - i could understand the reasons
they said there might be young children or a nervous man seeing
this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting
Not the music.
It is this other thing
I keep from all of them
that matters, inviolable.
I scratch in my journals,
a mouse rummaging through cupboards,
Know him for a white man.
He walks sideways into wind
allowing the left of him
to forget what the right
knows as cold. His ears
turn into death what
Do you remember, Nancy,
when we sat in the Creole restaurant
and glanced up at the television to see students running
with their hands in the air and photographs
of two young men?
My sister is crying and crying
her tears grow to salt stormy showers
to rain and to rapids and rivers
they run to the sea to the sea.
My sister sobs softly she knows
Winter has landed; my boot bucks on a stone
surrounded by snow; I swear, I murmur
Oracabessa. “The rock” is what I call home,
all islanders do, and I’m in blessed Ann Arbour,
bedtime ritual summon a stranger tonight you
linger on my laptop screen
in the apartment hallway a door slams like a bird
Price depends on how the cheongsam
was made, the fabric used.
Gasp. Lift breasts with one hand.
Stuff your body inside.
If you wear this print of peonies
As Whitman sang the body electric
Goodwin sings the body forested:
dense stand of dark-trunked saplings
illumined by a blood-streaked sky,
ominous forest where
abandoned children wander
Weeds are flattened beneath last year’s tire tracks
others lay burden by the winter’s heavy snow.
The crocuses labor through this thick blanket.
I am sun drained from the bleakness
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
Only the thickness of log
and triple-paned glass
between my children and
the open maw
of a bear.
I slip warm chocolate chip
cookies from the pan
to the cooling rack -
I remember my birth
like it was tomorrow, the unholy sensation
“I saw my land in the morning
and O but she was fair”
- M.G. Smith, “Jamaica” (1938)
Come see my land
You sit in the forgotten bone-dry hills
surrounded by sand and sagebrush
above Buffalo Pound Lake.
A day and a night, and then
three more days and nights.
You gasp, awakened by
a bucket of cold water.
A gauzy autumn morning. A drained sunrise.
You shiver, strain to see the house
parent’s fingers whipping & flicking in
they say we are a family that is good at death / i make a decision to hold
a seminar on how to live / i schedule this party for my uncles on the first
day of spring / my dead uncles play hooky with the afterlife
Dem did sey she pregnance
Cum a sea full a mi
Weighing har down eena har shoe dem
Dresses, coco, mangoes an baggy an arl
Dem did sey de ship nearly sink
Mi mumma nebah sleep a wink
I pick you up,
then bring you closer.
My fingers slowly roll
over your body,
removing seeds attached to you,
free them into the air.
I hear you sigh
I only know rivers
Waters elongated to the unrumpled recitatif
of endless land
The Bow knows
Has tongued and grooved the firmament, baby,
of this Last Best
We had no paper
then, or we had
no pen, or no words. How
to say it. We had
no voice. No listeners.
Just deaf night
At the park I look for Levita,
because our work is the same—
swaying wide-legged over foraging toddlers,
we avert bruises, discourage the consumption
sam says you can’t name your book good boys without a dog
but sam doesn’t know that i am the dog
i am the ultimate mutt and i am telling him this story
I saw a perfect tree today
From my cabin bed on a Via Rail train
Through the North of Ontario
It was tall and thin and scraggly and prim
Then I saw another just as perfect
How to describe sea
To someone who’s never seen it?
He lives to ninety-nine, he wants it, to see it
To walk on its glass surface, to blow the seven trumpets.