poem index

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

occasions

About this poet

Ari Banias was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the Chicago area. He received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from Hunter College. He is the author of Anybody (W. W. Norton, 2016). Banias has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Stanford University, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Wedding

People, far too many people here—
drinking, leaning on the furniture,
congratulating my father
on his new life. Here’s
his young wife, young enough
to be my older sister.
She—if you can’t tell
the whole truth—is nice.
But he slams his glass
onto the table, yells
more now than ever. Unless
I remember wrong. I know
I was afraid. Of him. And so.
I know I played alone
with dolls and that
we roughhoused, hard,
like brothers. What is a father
is a question like what
is home, or love. In the middle of the room
guests on the arms of the awful floral sofa
Mom wouldn’t get up from
when she heard. In the grey bathrobe
for a week, horrid splotches
of pink and purple flowers with green
for stems. Or leaves. I can’t
look at it. There’s something hot
behind my eyes another glass of wine
should take care of.
There are people I should say hello to.

“Wedding” from Anybody: Poems by Ari Banias. Copyright © 2016 by Ari Banias. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company.

“Wedding” from Anybody: Poems by Ari Banias. Copyright © 2016 by Ari Banias. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company.

Ari Banias

Ari Banias

Ari Banias is the author of Anybody (W. W. Norton, 2016). He lives in Berkeley, California.

by this poet

poem

I watch a woman take a photo
of a flowering tree with her phone.
A future where no one will look at it,
perpetual trembling which wasn’t
and isn’t. I have taken photos of a sunset.
In person, “wow” “beautiful”
but the picture can only be
as interesting as a word repeated until

2
poem

Enough birds.
No more branches, no more moon, no more
clouds, light glinting on
no more water. Refuse to sing because
the song is stuffed and birds
they lilt and carol wordlessly of what, of whose
turn it is to bird and bird and bird
the same translations as assigned.
Whose

poem

boxes taped up and up then tied with twine | addressed on every side | in that careful longhand taught on other continents | they looked like mail bombs | going round and round the carousel | in a regional anxiety | stinking barrel of sheep’s cheese beaded in sweat | olive oil tin wrapped in much plastic | each