Never Been

Neighbors’ faces lit by blue
screens.    Junkies? Angels?
I want to say the latter
although I’ve never heard
of sports bras in all the iconography
or miraculous accounts of folks being
saved for a larger purpose which I can
hardly imagine as I carry my daughter
who cannot sleep onto the dark porch and up
the sidewalk in my arms       my arms
which do this with numb customary strength
and if     if they are     they are angels
then the yellow slit of refrigerator light
must be the gates opening wide to take them
back to wherever it is that would leave us
bereft and I know the world will be different
when they are finally gone—the yew trees
outside their windows, for instance.
Same trees. Same trees, in different light.

Benjamin Landry is the author of Particle and Wave and An Ocean Away, and he is a fall 2015 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. He held the Mina Shaughnessy Scholarship in Writing at the Bread Loaf School of English and the Meijer Post-MFA Fellowship at the University of Michigan. He and his wife—the fiction writer Sara Schaff—have taught creative writing and English in the United States, Colombia and China for a decade. His poetry has appeared in Guernica, The New Yorker, Poetry Daily and elsewhere. Learn more about his work at