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Poem-A-Day

Through Poem-a-Day, we present original, previously unpublished poems by our country's most talented poets throughout the week and classic poems on the weekends. 

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Showers

About this Poem 

“Hopeless poems about the unimaginable future can seem voyeuristic. Hopeful ones can feel fake. ‘Showers’ is trying to find a balance, but not the middle ground of compromise. The child is real.”
D. Nurkse

Showers

D. Nurkse, 1949

The child tells me,  put a brick in the tank,  
don’t wear leather, don’t eat brisket,
snapper, or farmed salmon
—not tells,
orders—doesn’t she know the sluice gates
are wide open and a trillion gallons
wasted just for the dare of it?  

Until the staring eye shares that thrill,
witnessing: I am just iris and cornea,
blind spot where brain meets mind,
the place where the image forms itself
from a spark
image of the coming storm.

Still the child waits outside the bathroom
with the watch she got for Best Essay,
muttering,  two minutes too long.

Half measures, I say. She says, action.
I: I’m one man. She: Seven billion

If you choose, the sea goes back.

Copyright © 2015 by D. Nurkse. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 7, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Copyright © 2015 by D. Nurkse. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 7, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.