Poem a Day – 09-10-2014

Poem a Day: New and classic poems provided by the Academy of American Poets


Jeffrey McDaniel

We are underwater off the coast of Belize.
The water is lit up even though it’s dark
as if there are illuminated seashells
scattered on the ocean floor.
We’re not wearing oxygen tanks,
yet staying underwater for long stretches.
We are looking for the body of the boy
we lost. Each year he grows a little older.
Last December you opened his knapsack
and stuck in a plastic box of carrots.
Even though we’re underwater, we hear
a song playing over a policeman’s radio.
He comes to the shoreline to park
and eat midnight sandwiches, his headlights
fanning out across the harbor.
And I hold you close, apple of my closed eye,
red dance of my opened fist.

About the poem: “This poem is about those loved ones who are so vividly alive in our hearts yet inexplicably out of reach.” – Jeffrey McDaniel

About Jeffrey McDaniel: Jeffrey McDaniel is the author of “Chapel of Inadvertent Joy” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in the Hudson Valley.

The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day@poets.org.

(c) 2014 Jeffrey McDaniel. Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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