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About this poet

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. 

Notes on a Mass Stranding

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 themselves] when their sonar
becomes scrambled in shallow water
or when a sick member of the pod
heads for shore and others follow

III.
61 of them on top of the South Island
wade into Farewell Spit.
18 needed help with their demises
this time, the sharp mercy
of knives still the slow motion heft
of each ocean heart.

IV.
Yes—even those born pilots,
those who have grown large and graceful
lose their way, found on their sides
season after season.
Is it more natural to care
or not to care?
Terrifying to be reminded a fluke
can fling anything or anyone
out of this world.

V.
Oh, the endings we swim toward
without thinking!
Mysteries of mass wrong turns, sick leaders
and sirens forever sexy                                             
land or sea.
The unequaled rush
and horror of forgetting
ourselves

Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

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

North Charleston, South Carolina, April 4, 2015

Walter Scott must have been a track athlete
before serving his country, having children:

his knees were high, elbows bent
at 90 degrees as his arms pumped
close to his sides, back straight and head up
as each foot landed in

poem

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 &

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—