22 Poems That Got You Through 2016

Amidst the ongoing wars over culture, truth and language that defined 2016, here are some of poems we read in order to find America's pulse.

"Magical Negro #80" by Morgan Parker

"It Doesn't Feel Like A Time To Write" by Danez Smith

"It doesn't feel like a time to write / when all my muses are begging / for their lives."

"Ode to Reading Rimbaud in Lubbock, Texas" by Chen Chen

"Trevor" by Ocean Vuong

"His hard lean arms aimed in the rain. When he touches the trigger’s black tongue, you / swear you can taste his finger in your mouth."

"Partial Hospitalization" by Donika Kelly

"Bullet Points" by Jericho Brown

"I promise if you hear / of me dead anywhere near / a cop, then that cop killed me."

"Catching Copper" by Natalie Diaz

"A New National Anthem" by Ada Limón

"Perhaps, / the truth is, every song of this country / has an unsung third stanza, something brutal / snaking underneath us as we blindly sing / the high notes with a beer sloshing in the stands / hoping our team wins."

"Huk-Huk" by Robin Coste Lewis

"Social Skills Training" by Solmaz Sharif

Studies suggest How may I help you officer? is the single most disarming thing to say and / not What’s the problem? Studies suggest it’s best the help reply My pleasure and not No / problem."

"The Plums" by Anis Mojgani

"Land Where My Father Died" by Fatimah Asghar

"land that mispronounces my grief land that calls my eulogy exotic land / that makes a graveyard of my other land that laughs when my people die & paints targets / on my future children’s faces..."

"Resignation" by Jameson Fitzpatrick"

"Sixty" by Mark Doty

"Write the night enormous. / Is that what souls are for?"

"Aubade with Lemon and Sage" by Tarfia Faizullah

"Fairy Tale" by Sam Sax

"A boy’s kicked out of his house / so he moves into the baths / + becomes the steam / men breathe in + out again / + this is a kind of homecoming, / tendriled in these strange lung / gutters, aqueduct full & emptying / of mucous & curses."

"Minefields" by Kyle Dargan

"Family Portrait as Denouement" by Traci Brimhall

"The night the mother forgets to call and the father thinks / I guess she’s dead, and I’m stuck raising our son alone. / The night the son says he can’t sleep because moonlight / rashes the curtains, and the mother thinks, dear God, / don’t let him be like me, always awed by the suffering of others / in a way that is half empathy, half desire..."

"The Five Stages of Drowning" by Patricia Smith

“Ode To Lithium #13: Snakes In Your Arms” by Shira Erlichman

"“It feels - ” you pause, you want to get this right, you look for the right word to describe the sensation that has been haunting you, causing you to get test after test, plaguing your sleep. “It’s like needles, but they move.” How should you describe it? You only have 20 minutes with this man in his office on the other side of the city before you have to go back to Kit’s house and sleep on her couch before finding a new place to live before finding a new therapist before deciding how to live tonight, let alone the rest of your life."

"The Last Thing, or Song For When They Take It All Away" by Patrick Rosal

“Ode To My Mother’s Backhand” By Jeanann Verlee

"Such precision, even in beer-battered rage, / to spin my jaw in whichever direction called."