Poetry That Will Drop Your Mouth Open

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I often turn to poetry when I’m feeling restless. There’s something about the rhythm and flow that seems to calm me, even if the subject isn’t calming. In that way, it’s a lot like music. The images of a poem mimic the melody of a musical piece, bits flowing in our heads just when we need it most. The poems I highlight here all have memorable phrases and images. They each tell a powerful story in their own unique voice. Enjoy!


Ashley M. Jones in River Mouth Review – Love Letter: Heaven is a Black Woman’s Smile

We all
puffed up to seem worthy in her presence.
Her sweet smile told me she’d been through
more than I could ever bear. And yet, still
that smile poured out. Sometimes, now that
she’s gone from earth, I can see her peeking
out of the corners of my mother’s eyes.

Comment: I fell in love with this homage to Ashley’s Grandmother written with respect, love, and beauty. It’s a story of grace through hardship and it’s gratifying to see a young person recognize this in her Grandmother.


Marissa Glover in Emerge Literary Journal – Homeland

Sometimes, it helps to think

of the relationship as a house

and inside the house is a bomb

and you don’t have time

to figure out what’s happened

or decide what to take—

Comment: This poem is so, so clever. Marissa intertwines scenes from Homeland (one of my fave series) with the crumbling of a relationship. I love a poem that surprises me and this one certainly did.


Olivia Braley in Emerge Literary Journal – Litany of Things to Remember

Remember to walk with your keys between your fingers like claws

if you ever find yourself alone at night and

when you spill your red wine,

that’s Jesus’ blood on your hands.

Comment: This poem is fun and interesting and poignant. This is how a list poem should be written.


Donna Vorreyer in Limp Wrist Magazine – Refusal

My brothers and I
crying in the car so my father wouldn’t see. Watching her go, their

sixty years flashing before him, he bent his head to hold her hand
through every visit. She wanted to come home. 

Comment: One of life’s hardest passages is watching your elderly parents go through sickness and separation. Pull out the tissues before you read Donna’s heartbreaking poem.


Peach Delphine in Cypress Press – Anclote

there is no one to pray over us
we have empty hands
with only words of weather,
shelf clouds,
frontal boundaries,
tropical systems,
where the scaled bodies of moonlight and tide
conceal themselves
in the shoals and reefs
of our eyes.


Comment: I only recently discovered Peach’s poetry and have read all I could find of it online. She weaves the natural world into her verse so beautifully, leaving us with gorgeous Southern images and poignant messages to ponder.

Tyree Daye in The New Yorker – What the Angels Ate

our mothers thanked god it was not the blood feared
a watermelon’s vine would wrap itself around you
if you fell asleep under them watching meteors
melons make magic under midnight moons

Comment: I just love this poem of family and place. Tyree is a master of imagery as this piece clearly demonstrates.

3 thoughts on “Poetry That Will Drop Your Mouth Open

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