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About this Poem 

“This poem was inspired by the shoreline in Madison, Connecticut. In Annie Finch’s workshop with other poets at the Poetry By The Sea conference, we explored meter's relationships to nature. As I entered this meditation, I couldn’t help but relate the physical landscape to the ongoing struggles of human nature embroiling our country and world. The poem is a call to transform adversity into greatness; a wish for relief, also known as mercy.”
Kamilah Aisha Moon

Mercy Beach

Stony trails of jagged beauty rise
like stretch marks streaking sand-hips.
All the Earth has borne beguiles us
& battered bodies build our acres.

Babes that sleep in hewn rock cradles
learn to bear the hardness coming.
Tough grace forged in tender bones—
may this serve & bless them well.

They grow & break grief into islands
of sun-baked stone submerged in salt
kisses, worn down by the ocean's ardor
relentless as any strong loving.

May they find caresses that abolish pain.
Like Earth, they brandish wounds of gold!
 

Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 20, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets

Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 20, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Kamilah Aisha Moon is the author of She Has a Name (Four Way Books, 2013). Her honors include fellowships from Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center, the Prague Summer Writing Institute, and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. 

by this poet

poem

            after the news of the dead 
            whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you 
			—W.S. Merwin


A blanket of fresh snow
makes any neighborhood idyllic.
Dearborn Heights indistinguishable from Baldwin Hills,
South Central even—
poem

I.
Huge dashes in the sand, two or three
times a year they swim like words
in a sentence toward the period
of the beach, lured into sunning
themselves like humans do—
forgetting gravity,
smothered in the absence
of waves and high tides.

II.
[Pilot whales beach

poem

   —to Shirley Q. Liquor, Drag Queen in Blackface


When you're gay in Dixie,

you're a clown of a desperate circus.


Sometimes the only way to be like daddy

is to hate like him—

hope your brothers laugh

instead of shoot,

wrap a