American Life in Poetry: Column 612


Here’s a short but loaded poem by a six-year-old from South Carolina, Jo’lene Dailey, from RYPA, the Rattle Young Poets Anthology. Rattle is a prominent literary journal. How many children have felt this way?

What I Want to Do Most of the Time

It feels like I need
To go to my dad’s house
And when I’m at my dad’s house
I want to go to my mom’s house
I want to be at both houses

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2014 by Torie Dailey, “What I Want to Do Most of the Time,” from Rattle Young Poets Anthology, (The Rattle Foundation, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of Torie Dailey and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.


Home Force, Presumption of Death

Joshua Bennett


erasure of Florida Statute 776.013

person is presumed to have a self or body.
person gains unlawful dwelling, or occupies


Mario Chard
Refugio from Mexico is not Mexico,
nor is every man who makes other men small
in the convex mirror of his buckle
Greetings, Friends!
Ian Frazier

I’ve been in dreamland quite a while

And just woke up with blissful smile

From nodding off I don’t know when.

I must’ve missed a lot since then.

re: the fire in Oakland at the artist’s warehouse
Ghost Ship 

Sonia Greenfield

I have been that young, that electrified
by the bohemian scene of a city spilling its lights
all around me. I have been to parties
re: Aleppo
The Days Don’t Stop 

Zeina Hashem Beck

the Tyrants sleep like gods
the Diplomats regret
the Diplomats are at their dinner tables

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