Burning the Old Year |Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

via Poetry Foundation


Like the Rain, Smell it Coming | Aricka Foreman

I am dreaming of tornadoes again, too many for the sky to contain. I have checked eight websites and the dictionary on my nightstand. I did not need technology or a writer to tell me there is chaos in my heart. I don’t tell people sometimes my dreams come true. I fear some parts are not metaphor. In the mornings I check the horizon. I am relieved when there is some whisper of light. On the way home from camping, a large storm made the highway a blur of brake lights, my fingers killers to my steering wheel. I kept searching for funnels, their willowy bodies twisting their way to the ground. Mapped out escape routes and viaducts to pull beneath. Today I fell asleep on the couch again. The wind rustled me awake, and parts of the sky were dark again. I can’t shake that something is coming. I don’t do well with worry. My mother built me to fix things.



A Dream of Foxes | Lucille Clifton


can blame her for hunkering 
into the doorwells at night, 
the only blaze in the dark 
the brush of her hopeful tail, 
the only starlight 
her little bared teeth? 

and when she is not satisfied 
who can blame her for refusing to leave, 
Master Of The Hunt, why am i 
not feeding, not being fed? 

the coming of fox 

one evening i return 
to a red fox 
haunched by my door. 

i am afraid 
although she knows 
no enemy comes here. 

next night again 
then next then next 
she sits in her safe shadow 

silent as my skin bleeds 
into long bright flags 
of fur. 

dear fox 

it is not my habit 
to squat in the hungry desert 
fingering stones, begging them 
to heal, not me but the dry morninngs 
and bitter nights. 
it is not your habit 
to watch, none of this 
is ourrs, sister fox. 
tell yourself that anytime now 
we will rise and walk away 
from somebody else’s life. 
any time. 

leaving fox 

so many fuckless days and nights 
only the solitary fox 
watching my window light 
barks her compassion. 
i move away from her eyes. 
from the pitying brush 
of her tail 
to a new place and check 
for signs. so far 
i am the only animal. 
i will keep the door unlocked 
until something human comes. 

one year later 

what if, 
entering my room, 
brushing against the shadows, 
lapping them into rust, 
her soft paw extended, 
she had called me out? 
what if, 
i had reared up baying, 
and followed her off 
into vixen country? 
what then of the moon, 
the room, the bed, the poetry 
of regret? 

a dream of foxes 

in the dream of foxes 
there is a field 
and a procession of women 
clean as good children 
no hollow in the world 
surrounded by dogs 
no fur clumped bloody 
on the ground 
only a lovely line 
of honest women stepping 
without fear or guilt or shame 
safe through the generous fields.

A Blessing | James Wright

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
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness   
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.   
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.   
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me   
And nuzzled my left hand.   
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Eagle Poem | Joy Harjo

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Rust | Warsan Shire

I give myself five days to forget you.
On the first day I rust.
On the second I wilt.
On the third day I sit with friends but I think about your tongue.
I clean my room on the fourth day. I clean my body on the fourth day.
I try to replace your scent on the fourth day.
The fifth day, I adorn myself like the mouth of an inmate.
A wedding singer dressed in borrowed gold.
The midas of cheap metal.
Tinsel in the middle of summer.
Crevice glitter, two days after the party.
I glow the way unwanted things do,
a neon sign that reads:
Come, I still taste like someone else’s mouth.