poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, October 1, 2018.
About this Poem 

“This poem was inspired by one long kiss that began a romance that has continued to this day. While working the drafts, it came to me that every love is quietly (or not-so-quietly) in dialogue with past loves. I think this is what baggage refers to. In simple terms, I just hope this poem offers a clear snapshot of a perfect beginning.”
—Tim Seibles

Unmarked

                      for Natalie

So much like sequins
the sunlight on this river.
Something like that kiss—
 
remember?
Fourth of July, with the moon
down early	the air moved
 
as if it were thinking,
as if it had begun
to understand
 
how hard it is 
to feel at home
in the world,
 
but that night
she found a place
just above your shoulder
 
and pressed her lips
there. Soft rain
 
had called off the fireworks:
the sky was quiet, but
back on Earth
 
two boys cruised by on bikes
trying out bad words. You turned
to reach her mouth,
 
at last, with yours	after weeks
of long walks, talking
 
about former loves
gone awry—
 
how the soul finally
falls down
 
and gets up alone
once more
 
finding the city strange,
the streets unmarked.

Every time you meet someone
it’s hard not to wonder
 
who they’ve been—one story
breaking so much
 
into the next: memory
engraves its hesitations—
 
but that night
you found yourself
unafraid. Do you remember
 
what the wind told the trees
about her brown hair?—
how the cool dark turned around:
 
that first kiss,
long as a river.
 
Didn’t it seem like you already loved her?
 
Off the sidewalk: a small pond,
the tall cattails, all those sleepy koi
 
coloring the water.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Seibles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 1, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Seibles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 1, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Tim Seibles

Tim Seibles

Tim Seibles is the author of Fast Animal (Estruscan Press, 2012), a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award.

by this poet

poem

My thoughts are murder to the State and involuntarily go plotting against her.
          —Henry David Thoreau

As if leaving
it behind would
have me lost
in this place, as if

keeping it
could somehow
save me from the
parade of knives

poem

Picture a city
and the survivors: from their
windows, some scream. Others
walk the aftermath: blood
and still more blood coming
from the mouth of a girl.

This is the same movie
playing all over
the world: starring everybody
who ends up where the action
is: lights,

poem
Five-legged pocket spiders, knuckled
starfish, grabbers of forks, why
do I forget that you love me:
your willingness to button my shirts,
tie my shoes—even scratch my head!
which throbs like a traffic jam, each thought
leaning on its horn. I see you

waiting anyplace always 
at the ends of my arms—for the doctor