Mom has been cleaning the house I grew up in;
she’s mailed me a stack of old poems I wrote
by hand, back when I wrote by hand and carried pen and
paper at all times—just in case. The poems are no good…
Not much that goes viral is true
(what passes for truth these days?);
but let’s keep this between me and you.
What is left after the groceries are put away?
Dishes on the drying rack, nothing to clean:
all is as it should be, or so they say.
I see no headstones, nothing
to mark a life, to reveal who
the corpse belonged to.
Was it held hostage,
a bouquet torn from the branch
bleeding into its vase?
Flowers cuffed mid-bloom
haven’t time to be unfree.
The key glimmers gold.
In this white-capped wind
a kite can fly a lifetime
never touching earth
A terrible student, I was predisposed
to chasing phantoms into alleys, to seeing
carnations bloom in oil slicks: I once spent
a math lecture lost in a dream
where I planted a tulip garden in a landfill.
Find joy in the little things:
the glint of rust on flagpoles at dawn,
or squeak of shoes on desecrated marble.
Imperfections I’d given up on.
On the third Monday in January you’ll find me
writing an ode I can’t quite finish, like a New Year’s
resolution I’ll stick to next time, I promise.
Sometimes, taking a break from the news and work,
I’ll spot the collected works of this or that poet
and, for a moment, have context for despair.