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About this Poem 
“Though I’d rather make poems than anything else, I’ve discovered over the years that I really have only one way of doing things, and, on a good day, I can inhabit the primal pleasure of making almost anything. This poem tries to honor what seems to me both the meticulous work and the ineffable magic of making.”
—James Longenbach
 

Thursday

Because the most difficult part about making something, also the best,
Is existing in the middle,
Sustaining an act of radical imagination,
I simmered a broth: onion, lemon, a big handful of mint.
 
The phone rang. So with my left 
Hand I answered it,
Sautéing the rice, then adding the broth
Slowly, one ladle at a time, with my right. What’s up?
 
The miracle of risotto, it’s easy to miss, is the moment when the husks dissolve,
Each grain of rice releasing its tiny explosion of starch.
 
If you take it off the heat just then, let it sit
While you shave the parmesan into paper-thin curls,
It will be perfectly creamy,
But will still have a bite.
 
There will be dishes to do, 
The moon will rise,
And everyone you love will be safe.
 

Copyright © 2017 by James Longenbach. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 14, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by James Longenbach. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 14, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

James Longenbach

James Longenbach

by this poet

poem
Often I walk the dog at night.
Once around the block, maybe twice,
And sometimes we head up to the reservoir.
If it's snowing, I put a little coat on the dog,
Booties if they've salted the street.

Everything you need is up there.
You can see for miles and you've got a lake,
Not large, the water black and still
poem
Stars rising like something said, something never
To be forgotten, shining forever--look

How still they are.

                Blind hunter crawling
Toward sunrise, then healed. 

He opened his eyes to find her waiting

--Afraid--and together they traveled
Lightly: requiring nothing

But a
poem
At the end of August, when all
The letters of the alphabet are waiting,
You drop a teabag in a cup.
The same few letters making many different words,
The same words meaning different things.

Often you've rearranged them on the surface of the fridge.
Without the surface
They're repulsed by one another.

Here are