Top 25 Most Read ONE ART Publications of 2021

#1

On The Day After You Left This World

by Heather Swan

#2

Three Poems

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

#3

Revision Lesson

by Erin Murphy

#4

Five Poems

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

#5

At The Nursing Home

by Gary Metras

#6

Two Poems

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

#7

Two Poems

by Donna Hilbert

#8

There should always be pie in a poem,

by Lailah Shima

#9

Two Poems

by J.C. Todd

#10

Self-Care

by James Crews

#11

February, 2021

by Donna Hilbert

#12

Three Poems

by Heidi Seaborn

#13

5 untitled poems [from] The Survivor

by Jenn Koiter

#14

Chiaroscuro

by Nathaniel Gutman

#15

The Doctrine of the Kite

by Melody Wilson

#16

Two Poems

by Donna Hilbert

#17

Two Poems

by William Logan

#18

Three Poems

by Aaron Smith

#19

Two Poems

by Betsy Mars

#20

December Again

by Ona Gritz

#21

Two Poems

by Betsy Mars

#22

Cycles

by Carolyn Martin

#23

What to do with your grief

by Patricia Davis-Muffett

#24

Hide-and-Seek

by Erin Murphy

#25

Two Poems

by Joseph Chelius

The Smallest Kindness by James Crews

The Smallest Kindness

After I showered and dressed—
my one shining accomplishment
for the day—though every step felt like
wading through molasses, some pair
of merciless hands clamping down
on my temples, squeezing out every
drop of hope, still I noticed the sliver
of soap I’d left dissolving in its dish,
and decided to unwrap a brand-new
bar of sweet almond, which I know
is my husband’s favorite, and I held it
to my nose, breathing in the scent
of sugary croissants baking in an oven
before placing it face-up in the dish—
unmarred, untouched, unlike so much
in this life, now waiting for him to slide
the creamy silk of its lather across his skin.

*

James Crews is the editor of the best-selling anthology, How to Love the World, which has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as in The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. He is the author of four prize-winning collections of poetry: The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment, and his poems have been reprinted in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and The Christian Century. Crews teaches poetry at the University at Albany and lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Three Poems by James Crews

Small, Good Things

Tonight, the fireflies blinking on
and off as light leaves the sky
are the synapses of my skin
firing as a breeze blows across me.
I sit on the porch steps doing nothing
for the few minutes I allow myself,
letting all the small, good things
from the day gather and hover
like mosquitoes landing with a
tremble among the hairs of my arms.

What if this is all we get of heaven,
little moments of joy sending out
their sharp scent like the basil plant
standing guard by the back door,
its leaves wanting nothing more
than to be torn, their essence released
to the night air. I can still make out
the jewel-like blooms of the purple
crown vetch crowding the flowerbed
around the stone, its vines once thought
to be invasive, though now we know
they nourish and restore even
the most depleted soil in the brief
time they come alive each summer.

*

How to Meet a Moment

To embrace a moment fully,
surrender your thoughts to the grass
between your toes, let droplets
of dew kiss your bare feet
with innocence, like children.

Walk the path to the apple tree
planted a hundred years ago,
now supporting the graft of a few
leafed-out branches that hold
the sunshine like a basket.

Hold sorrow too, let it rise in you
like yeasty sourdough left alone
in a warm place on the table,
and relish this necessary grief,
the bread of which also feeds you.

But once you’re finished feeling it,
be done. Find some other wondrous
thing to give your whole self to—
blue twine woven in a warbler’s nest,
the seedheads of rye grass waving
in wind, the blades suddenly parting
like the sea for you to enter.

*

The Call

We think of caterpillars as gladly
munching bitter leaves, marching
toward metamorphosis, and obeying
the silent inner command, which comes
when it’s time to spin the chrysalis,
slip on the wings of that new life.
Yet some decide to wait: they hear
the call to change and simply say no—
too afraid of the days of darkness,
the pain of a body turned inside-
out to become another. Next year,
they tell themselves, then inch on,
unable to imagine the freedom
of floating from one sweetness
to another, stopping on a stone
in the middle of a raging river
to drink and flex the wings they
once thought a figment of some
dream that would never come true.

*

James Crews is the editor of the best-selling anthology, How to Love the World, which has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as in The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. He is the author of four prize-winning collections of poetry: The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment, and his poems have been reprinted in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and The Christian Century. Crews teaches poetry at the University at Albany and lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Self-Care by James Crews

Self-Care

 

Some days it feels like a foreign language
I’m asked to practice, with new words
for happiness, work, and love. I’m still learning
how to say: a cup of tea for no reason,
what to call the extra honey I drizzle in,
how to label the relentless urge to do more
and more as poison. And how to translate
the heart’s pounding message when it comes:
enough, enough. This morning, I search for words
to capture the glimmering sun as it lifts
above the mountains, clouds already closing in
as fat droplets of rain darken the deck.
I’m learning to call this stillness self-care too,
just standing here, watching goldfinches
scatter up from around the feeder like pieces
of bright yellow stained-glass, reassembling
in the sheltering arms of a maple.

 

 

James Crews is the author of four collections of poetry, The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment. He is also the editor of the popular Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The New Republic, The Christian Century, and have been reprinted in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and featured on Tracy K. Smith’s podcast, The Slowdown. Crews holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a PhD in writing from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He works as a creative coach and lives with his husband on an organic farm in Vermont.