I'd like to thank the Academy ...

The Academy of American Poets, that is, for posting my poem "How to Love" as today's Poem-a-Day!

How to Love
January Gill O’Neil

After stepping into the world again,
there is that question of how to love,
how to bundle yourself against the frosted morning—
the crunch of icy grass underfoot, the scrape
of cold wipers along the windshield—
and convert time into distance.

What song to sing down an empty road
as you begin your morning commute?
And is there enough in you to see, really see,
the three wild turkeys crossing the street
with their featherless heads and stilt-like legs
in search of a morning meal? Nothing to do
but hunker down, wait for them to safely cross.

As they amble away, you wonder if they want
to be startled back into this world. Maybe you do, too,
waiting for all this to give way to love itself,
to look into the eyes of another and feel something—
the pleasure of a new lover in the unbroken night,
your wings folded around him, on the other side
of this ragged January, as if a long sleep has ended.


Maureen said…
Wonderful to see you featured there. A beautiful poem.
Anonymous said…
Congratulations! I like the poem.
L. Espenmiller said…
Hi January, your poem landed in my inbox the other day since I'm subscribed to the American Academy of Poets "Poem-a-Day" newsletter. I forwarded it to a friend with a note. She wrote back telling me she met you at Cave Canem. She sent me the link to your blog and suggested I share with you what I wrote to her. So, here is my note to my friend:

"T - did you get this poem today? I love it. When I read the poet's statement about why she wrote it, how she said that she should have called it "How to Trust Again", that it's seeking to answer the question how does one stay open and love again after a betrayal - a light went on. Truth was revealed as to why this poem struck such a chord: it helped me to name, to recognize that much of what I'm experiencing in the aftermath of thyroid cancer is how to trust life again, to trust being alive and embracing life again after what feels like a betrayal of the gods, my body, my fate, my sense of magic in the world.

I am grateful for this poem landing in my inbox this morning. Deep bow to poetry, to a young woman named January (which is my birth month)."

Thank you, January, for recognizing what you recognized and putting it into a poem for the rest of us.

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