April 29 – #NPM17

Before I let you love me, my heart will have to finish the untitled document

it’s spent months waiting to complete.

It’s a requirement that you spill your guts for me

so I know if you have any guts at all.

Tell me about the way pianos sounded like pain underneath your mother’s fingers

but wine underneath your father’s,

how the first time you picked raspberries you didn’t understand

how beautiful it was until years later, when you held someone’s hands in yours

and examined all the stains, the nicks and callouses

that crossed all their lifelines.

Before I let you love me, I have to be sure

you’ll let me cross yours.

Because no matter how much you trust someone,

we all eventually end up as ghosts.

One more thing, before I let you love me-

I’m the one that’s been haunting your back door.

I never wiped my feet on the welcome mat before slipping silently in

because as I said before

we all eventually end up as ghosts

and our footprints and fingerprints

don’t trace the paths we’ve been


Maggie Royer – “The Warning”
More from Royer here.


Kyla Lacey – “White Privilege”

April 28 – #NPM17

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

Warsan Shire – “What They Did Yesterday Afternoon”
Read more about Warsan Shire here.


Dominique Christina – “For Emmett Till”

April 27 – #NPM17

In god’s gleaming empire, herds of triceratops
lunge up on their hind legs to somersault
around the plains. The angels lie in the sun
using straight pins to eat hollyhocks. Mostly
they just rub their bellies and hum quietly

to themselves, but the few sentences
they do utter come out as perfect poems.
Here on earth we blather constantly, and
all we say is divided between combat
and seduction. Combat: I understand you perfectly.
Seduction: Next time don’t say so out loud.
Here the perfect poem eats its siblings

in the womb like a sand shark or a star turning
black hole, then saunters into the world
daring us to stay mad. We know most of our
universe is missing. The perfect poem knows
where it went. The perfect poem is no bigger
than a bear. Its birthday hat comes with
a black veil which prattles on and on about

comet ash and the ten thousand buds of
the tongue. Like people and crows, the
perfect poem can remember faces and hold
grudges. It keeps its promises. The perfect
poem is not gold or lead or a garden gate
locked shut or a sail slapping in a storm.
The perfect poem is its own favorite toy.

It is not a state of mind or a kind of doubt
or a good or bad habit or a flower of any
color. It will not be available to answer
questions. The perfect poem is light as dust
on a bat’s wing, lonely as a single flea.

Kaveh Akbar – “The Perfect Poem”


Sarah Kay – “Private Parts”

April 26 – #NPM17

It never ends, the bruise
of being—messy,
untimely, the breath

of newborns uneven, half
pant, as they find
their rhythm, inexact

as vengeance. Son,
while you sleep
we watch you like a kettle

learning to whistle.
Awake, older,
you fumble now

in the most graceful
to have seen you, on your own

steam, simply eating, slow,
chewing—this bloom
of being. Almost beautiful

how you flounder, mouth full, bite
the edges of this world
that doesn’t want

a thing but to keep turning
with, or without you—
with. With. Child, hold fast

I say, to this greening thing
as it erodes
and spins.


Kevin Young – “Greening”


Lacey Roop – “A Lesson Learned From 3rd Graders”

April 25 – #NPM17

Your hand sails its gold ship around the small of my back
and the streetlights blush, oranges peeling into their more naked selves.

With you, it’s always this tender and waiting, the entire city opening
just to close us in together. I mean it’s New York, New York isn’t it? and

This has always been its story. You’re not from around here, and I’m
always about to leave, and these cobblestones collide around us,

roads pressing into roads as people walk past us, their heads thrown back
in laughter, mouths all spit and fire, new tar forming from the oil of their sneakers.

I don’t know how to fall in love here. It’s never quiet enough to know
what I’m thinking when you pull your hair back and smile, but I know

that I don’t want to leave, not you, not here, not with this, with everything
feeling so delicate, the space between us a branch I’m not sure is worth breaking.

And we are standing at Allen Street, and I’m not asking you to stay but
I’m holding an apple to your mouth and saying Bite, and so you bite,

and I wipe the sweet juice from the side of your mouth, and an old mister calls out:
You better treat this girl right, boy! and you laugh – What else can you do?

This is New York, New York, remember? – and neither of us will be here for long.
So we pull a little closer. The bough bending before it breaks, and when it does,

Some light in me snaps —
pink, pulse-pulse, and hold.

Shinji Moon – We Make Our Land on Allen Street”
More on Moon here.


Shane Koyczan & Hannah Epperson – “Remember How We Forgot”
@Koyczan and @hannah_epperson

April 24 – #NPM17

I couldn’t tell you in any of the ways I knew how, it was strange because I spoke too often and so loud you often told me to shut up, but when I opened my mouth, I was always distracted. Your cheeks looked like freshly picked apples in the light, I wanted to sink my teeth into them. On Monday morning I felt the words rising in my throat like bile only I was stupid enough to look at you and I swear that I forgot what day it was because you were so fucking beautiful standing in the light falling from the open kitchen windows that God himself couldn’t have forced the sentiment from my mouth. And that’s how it went, I tried and I lost it, there was always something to derail me and I could never explain to you how even the spread of freckles across your nose turned my stomach so heavily that I couldn’t remember what languages I’d learned. Sometimes I whispered them to you in Bengali at night whilst you were lying across my stomach, over and over again like the lyrics from a favorite song and you’d ask me in your sleepy voice what I meant and all I could say was ‘I’m asking if you’ll make me a sandwich.’ You’d pinch my stomach and roll your eyes until your lashes fluttered against my skin and curse in frustration. Sometimes you kissed me so hard I wondered if you were trying to lick the words out of my mouth.

I tried to tell you in other ways, quietly and gently, I bought your favorite blend of chocolate milk and didn’t let anyone drink it because when your stomach hurt you’d put your head on my shoulder and cradle the cup in your hands. I learned your favorite song on guitar and it took me three whole weeks to pluck up the courage to show you but I peeked under my lashes when I was playing and your smile, boy, it looked like rain on desert and it was worth the sore nails. You asked me to play on Saturday night, you told me that you wished I could say it, but I couldn’t so I strummed it through my fingers instead and let you eat the last slice of cake. You must have known then, when I shook for you at night and held your hands until my nails were tattoos on your skin, when I sat through hours of Lord of the Rings for you, that even though you hadn’t heard me say it yet, I was still telling you in a thousand different ways, I was still telling you.


Azra Tabassum – from the book “Shaking the Trees”


Asia Samson – “Alive”

April 23 – #NPM17

I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.

And I will not be afraid
of your scars.

I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.
Clementine von Radics – “Mouthful of Forevers”


Amin Drew Law – “Unsaid”