Leisure by W. H. Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

The Shapes of Leaves by Arthur Sze

Ginkgo, cottonwood, pin oak, sweet gum, tulip tree:
our emotions resemble leaves and alive
to their shapes we are nourished.

Have you felt the expanse and contours of grief
along the edges of a big Norway maple?
Have you winced at the orange flare

searing the curves of a curling dogwood?
I have seen from the air logged islands,
each with a network of branching gravel roads,

and felt a moment of pure anger, aspen gold.
I have seen sandhill cranes moving in an open field,
a single white whooping crane in the flock.

And I have traveled along the contours
of leaves that have no name. Here
where the air is wet and the light is cool,

I feel what others are thinking and do not speak,
I know pleasure in the veins of a sugar maple,
I am living at the edge of a new leaf.

Woman Waving to Trees by Dorothea Tanning

Not that anyone would
notice it at first.
I have taken to marveling
at the trees in our park.
One thing I can tell you:
they are beautiful
and they know it.
They are also tired,
hundreds of years
stuck in one spot—
beautiful paralytics.
When I am under them,
they feel my gaze,
watch me wave my foolish
hand, and envy the joy
of being a moving target.

Loungers on the benches
begin to notice.
One to another,
“Well, you see all kinds…”
Most of them sit looking
down at nothing as if there
was truly nothing else to
look at until there is
that woman waving up
to the branching boughs
of these old trees. Raise your
heads, pals, look high,
you may see more than
you ever thought possible,
up where something might
be waving back, to tell her
she has seen the marvelous.

Strip by Hannah Sanghee Park

Like a frame within a frame the fossil
carried a carcass, a carapace,

and its own casket in another casket,
its own natural sarcophagus.

I never told anyone this story:
in a summer like this I ate a nectarine

until its rough corduroy pit, continued
rolling and chewing it until it hinged

open, and an inert spider, sitting
in white wisp, was inside like a small jewel.

How does a thing feel real. The layers
comprising me are, reductively, soft

hard, soft, an easy sift to the truth
but the hard sell and swallow done anyway.

The House by Warsan Shire

i

Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women; kitchen of lust,
bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy.
Sometimes the men – they come with keys,
and sometimes, the men – they come with hammers.

ii

Nin soo joog laga waayo, soo jiifso aa laga helaa,
I said Stop, I said No and he did not listen.

iii

Perhaps she has a plan, perhaps she takes him back to hers
only for him to wake up hours later in a bathtub full of ice,
with a dry mouth, looking down at his new, neat procedure.

iv

I point to my body and say Oh this old thing? No, I just slipped it on.

v

Are you going to eat that? I say to my mother, pointing to my father who is lying on the dining room table, his mouth stuffed with a red apple.

vi

The bigger my body is, the more locked rooms there are, the more men come with keys. Anwar didn’t push it all the way in, I still think about what he could have opened up inside of me. Basil came and hesitated at the door for three years. Johnny with the blue eyes came with a bag of tools he had used on other women: one hairpin, a bottle of bleach, a switchblade and a jar of Vaseline. Yusuf called out God’s name through the keyhole and no one answered. Some begged, some climbed the side of my body looking for a window, some said they were on their way and did not come.

vii

Show us on the doll where you were touched, they said.
I said I don’t look like a doll, I look like a house.
They said Show us on the house.

Like this: two fingers in the jam jar
Like this: an elbow in the bathwater
Like this: a hand in the drawer.

viii

I should tell you about my first love who found a trapdoor under my left breast nine years ago, fell in and hasn’t been seen since. Every
now and then I feel something crawling up my thigh. He should make himself known, I’d probably let him out. I hope he hasn’t
bumped in to the others, the missing boys from small towns, with pleasant mothers, who did bad things and got lost in the maze of
my hair. I treat them well enough, a slice of bread, if they’re lucky a piece of fruit. Except for Johnny with the blue eyes, who picked my locks and crawled in. Silly boy, chained to the basement of my fears, I play music to drown him out.

ix

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
No one.

x

At parties I point to my body and say This is where love comes to die. Welcome, come in, make yourself at home. Everyone laughs, they think I’m joking.