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, “Daily” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Poems by This Author

Alive by Naomi Shihab Nye
Dear Abby, wrote someone from Oregon
Arabic by Naomi Shihab Nye
The man with laughing eyes stopped smiling
Blood by Naomi Shihab Nye
Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye
Letters swallow themselves in seconds
Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye
The river is famous to the fish
Fuel by Naomi Shihab Nye
Even at this late date, sometimes I have to look up
Gate A-4 by Naomi Shihab Nye
Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning
Haunted by Naomi Shihab Nye
We are looking for your laugh.
How Palestinians Keep Warm by Naomi Shihab Nye
Choose one word and say it over
Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
Lying While Birdwatching by Naomi Shihab Nye
Making a Fist by Naomi Shihab Nye
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
Many Asked Me Not to Forget Them by Naomi Shihab Nye
Where do you keep all these people?
Negotiations with a Volcano by Naomi Shihab Nye
We will call you "Agua" like the rivers and cool jugs
San Antonio by Naomi Shihab Nye
Tonight I lingered over your name,
Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye
A man crosses the street in rain
Snow by Naomi Shihab Nye
Once with my scarf knotted over my mouth
Streets by Naomi Shihab Nye
A man leaves the world
The Man Whose Voice Has Been Taken From His Throat by Naomi Shihab Nye
remains all supple hands and gesture
The Rider by Naomi Shihab Nye
A boy told me
The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye
When I think how far the onion has traveled
The Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye
My grandmother’s hands recognize grapes
Two Countries by Naomi Shihab Nye
Skin remembers how long the years grow
Valentine for Ernest Mann by Naomi Shihab Nye
Wedding Cake by Naomi Shihab Nye
Once on a plane


Further Reading

Poems About Home
9773 Comanche Ave.
by David Trinidad
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [excerpt]
by Aimé Césaire
Birthplace
by Michael Cirelli
Dusting
by Marilyn Nelson
Evangelize Your Love
by Jillian Weise
Fishing on the Susquehanna in July
by Billy Collins
He Foretells His Passing
by F. D. Reeve
Home is so Sad
by Philip Larkin
My House, I Say
by Robert Louis Stevenson
On the Disadvantages of Central Heating
by Amy Clampitt
Opus 80
by Arthur Davison Ficke
Otherwise
by Jane Kenyon
Proclamation
by Stuart Dischell
Psalm of Home Redux
by David Lee
Steppingstone
by Andrew Hudgins
Sysiphusina
by Shira Dentz
Te Deum
by Charles Reznikoff
The Bedroom
by Paula Bohince
The Cabbage
by Ruth Stone
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by W. B. Yeats
This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams
Untitled [I grew up in North Adams]
by Brenda Iijima
Wonder Cabinet
by Tina Chang