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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 18, 2017.
About this Poem 

“For about a year I’ve been trying and mostly failing in profound ways to write about my daughter. Her sense of wonder and openness defies what I know how to do in a poem right now. So I’ve been writing these ten-line, music-inspired lyrics in an effort to change my poetic perspective while still catching some of the smaller moments of her joy.”
—Adrian Matejka

Soave Sia Il Vento

after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In the wobbly pirouette between song
& dust, dog-nosed living room windows
& a purple couch that should have been curbed
last July: Saturday sunlight cuts it all every
time you lean into some kind of ballet pose.
Your belly & knobby elbow & leotarded knee
wavering in a slim balance. Jeté, effacé
I don’t know what they mean & nod anyway.
You reach & spin & dog hair hangs
in the air like the start of heartfelt applause.

Copyright © 2017 by Adrian Matejka. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 18, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Adrian Matejka. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 18, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Adrian Matejka

Adrian Matejka

Adrian Matejka is the author of The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), which was nominated for both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana. 

by this poet

poem

In 1981, Eris’s spacious face hadn’t been discovered
yet, my mother hadn’t taken a day off from Fort Ben
yet, & Pluto was still a planet. One of nine celestial
bodies snapped into drummed orbits around the Sun
like the orthodontic rubber bands no one in Carriage House
had. I hid my gaps

poem

—after “Trumpet,” Jean-Michel Basquiat


the broken sprawl & crawl
of Basquiat’s paints, the thin cleft

          of villainous pigments wrapping 

each frame like the syntax
          in somebody else’s relaxed

explanation of lateness: what had

2
poem

When 213b finally opens in a crack of yellow linoleum, 
Garrett comes out with the left side of his afro as flat 
as the tire that used to be on his mom’s car & the stuck 
snick of the cheap door locking behind him sounds exactly 
like someone trying to light a smoke with an empty