What I love Understands itself As properly scarce.  

illustration of a silhouette of a heart surrounded by branches, leaves, an owl, a sparrow, and blue flecked strawberries
Art by Kristina Closs

I Know What I Love

by Jericho Brown

It comes from the earth.
It is green with deceit.
Sometimes what I love 
Shows up at three 
In the morning and 
Rushes in to turn me
Upside down. Some-
Times what I love just
Doesn’t show up at all.  
It can hurt me if it 
Means to…because 
That’s what in love
Means. What I love 
Understands itself 
As properly scarce.  
It knows I can’t need 
What I don’t go without.  
Some nights I hold 
My breath. I turn as in
Go bad. When I die 
A man or a woman will
Clean up the mess 
A body makes. They’ll
Talk about gas prices
And the current drought 
As they prepare the blue-
Black cadaver that still,
As the dead do, groans:
I wanted what anyone 
With an ear wants— 
To be touched and 
Touched by a presence
That has no hands.

from The Tradition


And if the sun comes How shall we greet him?

I can’t believe I’ve let nine years of this blog pass without posting the work of the inimitable and essential Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), so let me amend that now with one of her great early poems.




And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

Though we have wept for him,
Though we have prayed
All through the night-years—
What if we wake one shimmering morning to
Hear the fierce hammering
Of his firm knuckles
Hard on the door?

Shall we not shudder?—
Shall we not flee
Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter
Of the familiar
Propitious haze?

Sweet is it, sweet is it
To sleep in the coolness
Of snug unawareness.

The dark hangs heavily
Over the eyes.