Illness smells out the trite like beagles
with noses near to the ground —
like a mother who knows
her daughter’s been smoking
in the bathroom downstairs
a dozen walls away from her.
Suddenly this narrowing
of breakdown lanes, of space to roam,
sidewalks cracking from the ice.
Slippery sunsets, stretching winters,
each hour of spring fresh popcorn
to a starving duck.

Truth becomes too short to hold —
like mustache trimmings in the sink,
like bones that go brittle and snap,
like hay that meets immutable rain.
Don’t we wish it didn’t take
a teapot growing cold and chipped
to make us want the chamomile.
The poem is a rose to press;
the rose is a poem to read —
this might be it
for both the garden and the light.

*First Published in Lily Magazine

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