National Student Poets Program

Taylor Baker, Editor in Chief

Darius Aftetat-Peckham is one of five seniors chosen by the National Student Poets Program to travel around the country speaking to students, holding workshops and sharing his poetry.

Darius spoke about his admiration for Ross Gay, who writes about the small joys of life.

He often writes about the complications of joy and sadness.

Darius came to Jefferson City to share some of his work with students and hopefully put some delight into other’s lives.


The Beautiful Day Dance

Mornings, when I woke up,
my face sagging, defeated, Dad would
smile at me and wave his arms above
his head, his legs kicking beneath
him, a desperate flail but a chance to
show that he could move his body as well
as anyone–when the sunlight seemed to
break and spill down his raised chin like
egg whites and the chill bit into us both–he’d sing
The song isn’t as important to me now as the
beauty of the dance (and I’m sure the melody was a
repetitious rip-off of Zippity-Doo-Dah, though
sometimes we tilted our heads beneath the sky
And just yelled it, despite the neighbors, dispelling
Puff of warm air from our mouths as we screamed
It’s a beautiful day, to the blue that filled the space
Behind the clouds, to whoever was listening- to the
Way I sweat at nights, Dad rubbing the wet T-shirt
That clung to my back \, whispering, It’s all right,
We’re okay over and over, like a chorus, the the broken
Limbs and the deaths that rendered us, for a time, living memories, regretfully alive, but thankful that
We could always spin ourselves around, arms spread spread wide
To live and dance and)
To sing anyways-
To sing always.