Share favorites. Share your own. I’ll start. This is Rita Dove’s “Canary”, which I’ve just read for the first time:

“Canary

for Michael S. Harper

Billie Holiday’s burned voice

had as many shadows as lights,

a mournful candelabra against a sleek piano,

the gardenia her signature under that ruined face.

(Now you’re cooking, drummer to bass,

magic spoon, magic needle.

Take all day if you have to

with your mirror and your bracelet of song.)

Fact is, the invention of women under siege

has been to sharpen love in the service of myth.

If you can’t be free, be a mystery.”

How about that shit?

Here’s one of mine:

“Abba abba got none for you

But a rhythm that sprung. She went walking

around in some hard flung shirt and a skirt of Marys,

of dessert.

You fitted at me,

You shifts around the trade winds,

You,

in the uplift,

a thousand planes shatter to safety

Madagascar, crunching underwing

In the babble of everyone speaking, everywhere, that is my blood rushing, everyone everywhere

A language of landing, of streamlined sun caught and held underwing, rain that cycled up from a gas station plastic bottle

No one has ever heard you speak

Madagascar remembers Mozambique, far flung arms say any time, home

Islands that look like the world

Oh I love the lash

Discipline,

the lack, what forms around the hole

What can be fitted

You have all this mutation

You lit the fire and then the path

And the house

And lighted up

The flames casting visible your frame

Played out against your skin like a game

Your inexplicable heart in its cage

Molten, shedding, molten, candy

I love the discipline

I know when you miss a breath