1. Butterfly Pavilion I stand before the cocoons, waiting for a twitch in the shells, a crack revealing a colorful wing. There are none. The cocoons are pinned to cork boards, each dangling from its tip, ordered by species and country of origin. Some look like snails. Some look like tiny black bugs. Some are the green of the first leaves of spring. Nothing today. I turn to the butterflies around me, broken out of their…

  2. HROTHGAR: ah, Beowulf welcome to Heorot and the land of my people we have heard of your deeds from across the sea BEOWULF: yeah it's no big deal I pretty much swam here UNFERTH: Is't so? I heard you were bested by Breca in a swimming contest not three w– BEOWULF: yeah actually I once held my breath for like a million hours it was crazy my friends weren't even worried because I fight guys…

  3. Song of Herself 1 Is it cool if I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself, Like, just for a minute? Even though what I assume I would, like, never ask you to assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you, or even probably better because I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I know it’s sort of lazy of me, and I’m super sorry, but If it’s cool with you do you…

  4. The Last of the Lily Maids

    “Or when the moon was overhead Came two young lovers lately wed; ‘I am half sick of shadows,' said The Lady of Shalott.” –Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    The ocean spills from my conch shell ears. I hear only my own sighing, as though I am still half-submerged—the last of the lily maids, a creature too destitute for a barge…

  5. Trailing clouds of glitter from a surprise Broadway triumph in Kenneth Lonergan’s serio-comedy This Is Our Youth, Rookie magazine founder Tavi Gevinson has expanded her extensive resume to include publishing maven. In addition to compiling the fourth Rookie Yearbook, due out this fall, Gevinson just made her debut as a literary editor. In the July/August issue of Poetry, the 103-year-old magazine that introduced American readers to the likes of Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, and Edna St. Vincent Millay,…

  6. Sarah Miller's previous work for The Toast, including other sestinas by David Brooks, can be found here. Before I talk about you, Ta-Nehisi Coates, I want to say how interesting it is to be white, and what a kick I get out of receiving actual cash money to reflect upon the lives of people. And, although I enjoy my written meditations on all Americans, there’s something extra special about the African-American experience. Your whole…

  7. Please email all questions you would like poetry to answer to advice@the-toast.net, with “Spinster’s Almanac” in the subject line. Dear Spinster, I'm moving out of my family's home this week. I'm moving to the twin city of my hometown for the summer before starting college across the country in the fall. I have always been an "independent" person; I grew up in a single-parent household with few monetary or

  8. “Your alphabet wraps itself
    like a tourniquet
    around my tongue.

    Speak now, the static says.
    A half-dressed woman named Truth
    tells me she is a radio.”

    --from "Dear America" at Four Way Review.

  9. As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can't believe it. what do you mean like going to work? What do they do it for? Sex? what no that's not why people go to work and you know it TV? i mean that's not the primary reason An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? yes obviously that is why…

  10. The original, and the replies, for context. Christopher Marlowe Fuck this, let's just go live in the woods. I don't need anything, and you don't need anything Either, just each other and some trees. Right? We'll make, like, a Cave House, and watch shepherds take care of their sheep, like chumps. Babe, it'll be so awesome, I promise. We'll sleep on flowers, and also wear them You can bring your slippers if you…

  11. Previously by Summer Block: Herodotus Writes a History of the 20th Century Ode on an Abandoned Shopping Mall Thou still and slumbering pleasure palace, Where thousands didst once gladly gather Sheltered from the wind and weather To buy a sweatshirt and a copy of Vs. on cassette. Ferns, once tenderly potted, now riotously clamor o'er the escalator; Proud skylights, cracked and battered, survey a vanished world. What benches, where fathers once would rest? What…

  12. Please email all questions you would like poetry to answer to advice@the-toast.net, with “Spinster’s Almanac” in the subject line. Dear Spinster, My unhappiness and depression have accumulated so much that they have blown up my life. I go out for long walks at night when I can't sleep to think about all my passive self-hatred has taken from me, and try not to let it lead me into the nearest

  13. My heart's in the squat rack, my heart is not here
    My heart's in the squat rack, a-lifting to clear
    A-lifting to clear, and improving my throws,
    My heart's in the squat rack, wherever I go.

  14. Little Richard Nixon’s come to our house to stay, An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away, An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep, An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn his board-an’-keep; An’ all us other childern, when the supper things is done, We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Richie Nixon…

  15. To his coy mistress. Oh, well, good news, coyness and not sleeping with you still aren't criminal acts, last time I checked, my man. So I'm not too worried about that. Feel like I've tried to say this nicely, but that never works, so let's try something else: had I the world and time, sitting by the river and listening to you as you try to seduce me would not be on the top…