poem index

Poem-a-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 500,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication. For more information about how to syndicate Poem-a-Day, contact [email protected]. The series is curated by twelve poets from across the country who have wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives. Learn more about our 2018 guest editors and read the poems they curated.

First Forty Days

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, November 15, 2018.
About this Poem 

“I wrote this poem, a part of a longer series, after giving birth to my son last spring. The title refers to the first forty days after childbirth, which many cultures view as a sacred time, a sort of second gestation in the womb of the house—an intimate interim between the birth and re-/joining the world. It’s a delicate, weird, precarious time—not quite life yet.”
—Michelle Gil-Montero

First Forty Days

1
 
Muddled stillness 
All summer
Sun 
 
Punched the yellow jacket nest
 
Cavernous paper
Valved like a parched heart
 
Over and over
I let it
 
Beat outside
My body
 
No dark to cradle
The living part 
 
 
2
 
The glare sears seeing  
              	        Something moves out of the corner
                                          	                      Often it is more      	nothing  
 
Tumbling
From its silk sack.             	
 
This stillness
 
              	         Shifts. Streak  
 
Of tiny particulars
Pained in relation: the experience still
 
So still
It is invisible?
 
It will settle, I will tell you
Where the edges belong
 
 
3
 
 
River
That bare aspiring edge
That killing arrow
      	      Feathered from its
Own wing
 
Then the third
River forms
 
When pain’s lit
 
Taper
Drips
 
 
Soft lip
Of my vision
 
Effacing, radiates
A late, silty light
My life
 
Slowly bottoming
Into thought  

Copyright © 2018 by Michelle Gil-Montero. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Michelle Gil-Montero. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.