In Black Ink During Green Tea by Mayda Del Valle

Am I a container big enough
for all this sweetness, all this love?

This is what I fear:
not being able to hold
all the love someone wants to pour into me.

That I’ll sink under too much
love, that I’m too small
for all a beloved has to offer.

How far could I stretch?
How wide could I sunset
across the sky, if I were willing
to break out of all this smallness?

Imagine that. Being too afraid
to break into something so radiant,
into something so free.

Between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice, Today by Emily Jungmin Yoon

I read a Korean poem
with the line “Today you are the youngest
you will ever be.” Today I am the oldest
I have been. Today we drink
buckwheat tea. Today I have heat
in my apartment. Today I think
about the word chada in Korean.
It means cold. It means to be filled with.
It means to kick. To wear. Today we’re worn.
Today you wear the cold. Your chilled skin.
My heart knocks on my skin. Someone said
winter has broken his windows. The heat inside
and the cold outside sent lightning across glass.
Today my heart wears you like curtains. Today
it fills with you. The window in my room
is full of leaves ready to fall. Chada, you say. It’s tea.
We drink. It is cold outside.

A Theory of Intimacy by Destiny O. Birdsong

Sometimes I want a man not to touch me.
I want us to sit on opposite ends of the couch
And eat Doritos, like that time me and David emptied
The box of ice cream bars in his jeep outside Walgreens.
I was twenty and my stomach would take anything.
Sometimes I want a man to wrap himself around me
So tightly that I forget where I end. Or that I have
An end, and I become the whole room: tympanic, with granules
Of starlight singing in me like shards of milk.
At sixteen I thought cramps and sadness would kill me.
They could walk through me at any moment; I was an airport chapel
Of dimmed lights and poems written by white men, and they
Were as formless as the demons who carried away Tony Goldwyn
In Ghost. Men I still love have turned into these. Sometimes,
I come close enough to watch them sleeping
Just to see if I can detect the moment it happens.

I Don’t Miss It by Tracy K. Smith

But sometimes I forget where I am,
Imagine myself inside that life again.

Recalcitrant mornings. Sun perhaps,
Or more likely colorless light

Filtering its way through shapeless cloud.

And when I begin to believe I haven’t left,
The rest comes back. Our couch. My smoke

Climbing the walls while the hours fall.
Straining against the noise of traffic, music,

Anything alive, to catch your key in the door.
And that scamper of feeling in my chest,

As if the day, the night, wherever it is
I am by then, has been only a whir

Of something other than waiting.

We hear so much about what love feels like.
Right now, today, with the rain outside,

And leaves that want as much as I do to believe
In May, in seasons that come when called,

It’s impossible not to want
To walk into the next room and let you

Run your hands down the sides of my legs,
Knowing perfectly well what they know.

His Morning Meditations by Jay Parini

My father in this lonely room of prayer
listens at the window
in the little house of his own dreams.

He has come a long way just to listen,
over seas and sorrow, through the narrow gate
of his deliverance.

And he dwells here now,
beyond the valley and the shadow, too,
in silence mustered day by dawn.

It has come to this sweet isolation
in the eye of God, the earliest of mornings
in his chambered skull, this frost of thought.

Naming the Heartbeats by Aimee Nuzhukumatathil

I’ve become the person who says Darling, who says Sugarpie,
Honeybunch, Snugglebear—and that’s just for my children.
What I call my husband is unprintable. You’re welcome. I am
his sweetheart, and finally, finally—I answer to his call and his
alone. Animals are named for people, places, or perhaps a little
Latin. Plants invite names for colors or plant-parts. When you
get a group of heartbeats together you get names that call out
into the evening’s first radiance of planets: a quiver of cobras,
a maelstrom of salamanders, an audience of squid, or an ostentation
of peacocks. But what is it called when creatures on this earth curl
and sleep, when shadows of moons we don’t yet know brush across
our faces? And what is the name for the movement we make when
we wake, swiping hand or claw or wing across our face, like trying
to remember a path or a river we’ve only visited in our dreams.