1. Other Lives and Dimensions and Finally a Love Poem
by Bob Hicok
A love poem that travels across hands. We never really realize how far the journey between bodies is until we’re apart from touching. This poem asks us what we could have meant to each other if we had turned down a different road, or ended up in another universe.
2. Love Letters from Helen of Troy
by Elisabeth Hewer
This is the Helen they don’t teach you about in mythology classes. This is the Helen who seeks revenge, who’s more than just a pretty face. She’s not only the daughter of Zeus, but the conqueror of kingdoms.
3. sound machine
by misha brandon speck
This poem is grief in the shape of survival. It’s messy and complicated and dabbles in the feelings we try to shy away from. It’s despair, and it’s something that altogether can’t quite be named. It makes me want to stay.
4. How to Fall in Love
by Susan Elbe
Start by leaving home. It’s not where the heart is,
but where the hard edge is. When ice begins
to ebb from shoreline,
freeing mangy marsh grass,
And as you pick up speed, let your life arc out
away from you.
Realize that you don’t know where you’re going
and that the weather changes often.
Steer between the stars
like songbirds coming back at night.
Listen to the whirring
of a thousand, thousand miles of dark.
Remember you are ancient,
that once you walked out of the sea
and in the trees became another thing.
Know you can again.
Become three kinds of lonely.
Light a torch.
Leave a trail of handprints on the walls.
Or start by staying put.
Be a whisper looking for a mouth: luna, luna, luna.
Sit underneath the porch light.
Eat walnuts and persimmons.
Spread your red-edged wings.
‘Calling time’ begins near midnight.
Be hungry. Want.
All the instructions for finding love are housed inside this poem, some with seemingly no connection to love. It teaches us about weather and sound and the darkness living inside of us, all the kinds of darkness. Maybe it helps ease the loneliness.
by Ocean Vuong
This poem can’t be called anything other than an opening. Some slow longing to be alive again after so long wishing to be dead. Sometimes it’s the beautiful things that open us; other times what’s beautiful is also what’s frightening. Like the lilac that unfurls every morning, its wounds on full display.
by Jeanann Verlee
Self-explanatory. A small poem with hurt that spans miles and miles across in diameter like the earth. It makes me wonder how what happens to us is chosen. All these women I know, all these women full of all this brave, and how so many of them came so close to being destroyed.
7. All Night No Sleep Now This
This one reminds me of Rilke- “Let everything happen to you/Beauty and terror/Just keep going/No feeling is final.” So many of the humans who live inside this poem are sad. All this survival we could earn, and the poet just keeps writing about the moon; the moon is out of reach, like the things we need the most.
8. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
by Dylan Thomas
A classic. Excerpts of this poem were recited aloud in the movie Interstellar.Strange, how when I close my eyes and remember this poem I think of light. All the galaxies the shuttle flew past in the film, how stars burst like apricots outside of their windows. I think of this poem, and I think of all the voids we willingly enter, and who eventually pulls us out of them.
9. When You Are Old
by W.B. Yeats
A poem about the beauty aging instills in us instead of the damage. How soft we become, how loving, how full of grace and sadness for what used to be. I only wish that when I am old I will read this poem still, and remember.
by Chris Herrmann
This one is written by a great friend of mine. Memory is a talisman in this piece, how we slowly let go of its hold. Inside this poem, the soft pain of forgetting those important to us and those no longer important but still possessing the power to hurt us, how this loss of memory sometimes tastes sweet.
Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, Winter Tangerine Review, Chanter Literary Magazine, Literary Sexts Volume 1, Hooligan Magazine, and Rib Cage Chicago Literary Magazine. In March 2013 she won a National Gold Medal for her poetry collection and a National Silver Medal for her writing portfolio in the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She also has three published poetry books, Survival Songs, Healing Old Wounds with New Stitches(Where Are You Press), and The No You Never Listened To (Words Dance).