poem index

Poem-A-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary 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 350,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication. For more information about how to syndicate Poem-a-Day, contact poem-a-day@poets.org.

Maps

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 28, 2017.
About this Poem 

“This poem is a meditation on immigration and on dreaming of a borderless world. I am a daughter of immigrants and so I wanted to honor my parents and their journey. It is dedicated to Marcelo, a great poet, a dear friend, and someone who has suffered deeply due to our need to draw lines.”
—Yesenia Montilla

Maps

For Marcelo

Some maps have blue borders
like the blue of your name
or the tributary lacing of
veins running through your
father’s hands. & how the last
time I saw you, you held
me for so long I saw whole
lifetimes flooding by me
small tentacles reaching
for both our faces. I wish
maps would be without
borders & that we belonged
to no one & to everyone
at once, what a world that
would be. Or not a world
maybe we would call it
something more intrinsic
like forgiving or something
simplistic like river or dirt.
& if I were to see you
tomorrow & everyone you
came from had disappeared
I would weep with you & drown
out any black lines that this
earth allowed us to give it—
because what is a map but
a useless prison? We are all
so lost & no naming of blank
spaces can save us. & what
is a map but the delusion of
safety? The line drawn is always
in the sand & folds on itself
before we’re done making it.
& that line, there, south of
el rio, how it dares to cover
up the bodies, as though we
would forget who died there
& for what? As if we could
forget that if you spin a globe
& stop it with your finger
you’ll land it on top of someone
living, someone who was not
expecting to be crushed by thirst—
 

Copyright © 2017 by Yesenia Montilla. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 28, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Yesenia Montilla. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 28, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

previous poems

date titlesort ascending author
September 26, 2013 Worst Things First Mark Bibbins
September 05, 2011 Work Without Hope Samuel Taylor Coleridge
September 07, 2015 Work Gangs Carl Sandburg
December 31, 2015 Work Sally Bliumis-Dunn
August 02, 2014 Work Emma Lazarus
August 02, 2013 Wonder Cabinet Tina Chang
February 07, 2015 Wonder and Joy Robinson Jeffers
May 16, 2011 Woman in Front of Poster of Herself Alice Notley
February 22, 2011 Wolf Cento Simone Muench
September 30, 2010 Witness Forrest Gander

Pages