November 26: “Daily”

These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips

These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares

These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl

This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out

This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky

This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it

The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world

— Naomi Shihab Nye

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October 13

the most important conversations
we’ll have are with our fingers
when yours nervously graze mine
for the first time during dinner
they’ll tighten with fear
when you ask to see me again next week
but as soon as i say yes
they’ll stretch out in ease
when they grasp one another
while we’re beneath the sheets
the two of us will pretend
we’re not weak in the knees
when i get angry
they’ll pulse with bitter cries
but when they tremble for forgiveness
you’ll see what apologies look like
and when one of us is dying
on a hospital bed at eighty-five
your fingers will grip mine
to say things words can’t describe

— fingers

— Rupi Kaur

September 29: “In Autumn”

When within ourselves in autumn we feel the autumn
I become very still, a kind of singing, and try to move
like all things green, in one direction, when within ourselves
the autumn moves, thickening like honey, that light we smear
on faces and hands, then touch the far within one another,
something like autumn, and I think when those who knew
the dead, when they fall asleep, then what, then what in autumn
when I always feel I’m writing in red pencil on a piece
of paper growing in thickness the way a pumpkin does,
traveling at fantastic speed toward orange, toward rot, when
in autumn I remember that we are cold-smitten as I continue
smearing red on this precipice, this ledge of paper over which
I lean, trying to touch those I love, their bodies rusting
as I keep writing, sketching their red hands, faces lusting for green.

— Mark Irwin

September 21: “Wind”

it’s true sometimes I cannot
stop myself from spilling
the recycling

unpetalling apple blossoms raiding
a picnic
making off with napkins I’m nothing
until I happen
flipping an umbrella outside-in
throwing its owner
into a fumble
pelting the avenue with sleet or dust

at times downtown
riding over galleries of air
so full of high excitement howling
I borrow an old woman’s hat
and fling it into the road

arriving with news of the larkspur
and the bumblebee
at times embracing you so lightly
in ways you don’t even register
as touch

— James Arthur

August 13: “Lingering in Happiness”

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground

where it will disappear–but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;

and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

— Mary Oliver