an honest mistake – jonarno lawson

Who hasn’t huddled under
a closed wing for warmth,
forgetting for a moment
that wings were made for flying?

– JonArno Lawson

a brief history of feminism – pamela august russell

Sally sells seashells
by the seashore
as if people didn’t know
you could just
go to the beach
and find them yourself.

– Pamela August Russell

witness – kay ryan

Never trust a witness.
By the time a thing is
noticed, it has happened.
Some magician’s redirected
our attention to the rabbit.
The best life is suspected,
not examined.
And never trust reverse.
The mourners of the dead
count backward from the date
of the event, rehearsing
its approach, investing
final words with greatest weight,
as though weight ever
carried what we meant;
as though he could have
told us where he went.

– Kay Ryan

my people – langston hughes

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

– Langston Hughes

it is my heart – stephen crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter – bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

– Stephen Crane

a man said to the universe – stephen crane

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

– Stephen Crane

selecting a reader – ted kooser

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
“For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned.” And she will.

– Ted Kooser

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