MD Kerr

Small pleasures


Text of the poem

What I can do — I will —
though it be little as a Daffodil.
That I cannot — must be
Unknown to possibility.
          Emily Dickinson

The wine is almost as sharp as in Cyprus.
On the decking, dimmed with drizzle, an olive tree.
Tonight, for dinner, we are defrosting tavas.
The washing machine sloshes its endless sea
and the heating ticks on all around us.
Hardly so bad, until
I remember and carefully put the thought away.
Hush, I tell it, stuffing it under the sofa. Not today.
Careless thoughts can kill.
What I can do — I will —

Rest for a day. Strum a bit on the guitar.
Cling all my claws to the last scrap of possible sleep.
Share fun brunch recipes on Facebook, as if the search bar
didnít suggest ďplaces near meĒ. As if the steep
curve of new existence were just some memoir
Iíd marvelled at, as if it didnít fill
my head like a bowling ball, steal my breath
with accidental shower thoughts of imminent death.
I must relax, so I can share my skill,
though it be little as a daffodil,

come Monday, come a fresh week of strange new routines.
Itís only a tiny business. I keep a handful of people sane
with my fretting over envelopes, felt-tips, oils, and screens,
packing up presents, scrubbing my hands as if the mark of Cain
were on them, which it might be. We all contain
fate for us all. Stop. Free
for a day, stay in the taste of sharp holiday wine
which conjures the smell of cinnamon, sea salt, pine.
Listen — pretend thatís sea.
That I cannot — must be

some fault in a mind that lives by perpetual make-believe
of ships in the middle of cities, that eats the small joys
for breakfast and stuffs a thousand stolen pleasures into the weave
of every ordinary moment — but the roar of this white noise
isnít a waterfall into Aphroditeís pool. I grieve
in places even I canít see
for things Iíve yet to name, and how can any of us name
this thing descended like a cage around us, come to claim
our lives entire: fragility
unknown to possibility?

Thanks to The Writers' Greenhouse for the prompt to write a reply to a poem and a glosa, and for the prompt to write about small pleasures.

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