Sick Day

I’m taking the day off

to mourn my life


which is not something

I can do at work


surrounded by computers

and codes.


Grief and regret – that one

we’re implored to deny –


can’t be codified.

They can be washed in tears


or taken for a walk

to the park, in the rain.


Or written down and out

in the hope of freedom


or better yet, redemption.

They can’t be summarized


into a memo to a choice few,

and copied to a few more.


Written quickly

and typed from memory,


that memo would be

an embarrassment


to the Professionals.

They would think, well,


she’s really lost it now,

telling us this. All the while


keeping back their own tears

welling up inside.


The Color of Wind

The end of his fingertips are pressed tightly against his eyelids,

praying for a color, a pink, a deep blue –


he knows nothing of pink or deep blue.

He knows the smell of watermelon


on a hot, humid day.

A seed gets spit onto a paper plate.


He knows the feel of seersucker against his legs –

that soft, corrugated cotton


moving with the breeze.

A bell rings on a quiet porch.


The wind blows an easy hello while he

makes his way through the living room.


Sitting on a chair in the shade

he listens to the bell chime


for his sound heart

and his telling tongue.


The wind greets him across the morning

through the wildflower fields


filled with the deep reds of poppies

the purple of flowering salvia.


Review of a Lifetime

There are angels in this city

with cameras slung round their necks.


Disguised as tourists, they take pictures

of us. Documenting our time on Earth.


Did you give the bum

a quarter or a smoke?


Did you cross at the light

or run when you could?


Did you smile at the stranger

as she snapped your photo


taking it to God for the review

of your life?


There are angels in this city

on the sidewalks, in the streets.


They are the cabdrivers, the waitresses,

the docents at the museum.


They are the clerks at Duane Reade

and the millionaires in their town cars.


They are the journalists of heaven

under the cover of humanity


watching over and watching us,

making sure we keep the pact


made at birth.

The deal of innocence


played out over a lifetime,

a wingspan, encompassing


all the hours

from birth to death.

Nickie Albert

Listed at Duotrope
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