Sorted Those

Went through the clothes draped
over the chair, you know,
the in-between,
the ones you’re not sure
if you should wear
one more time –
the not worthy
to be hung as clean, the not dirty
enough to be tossed
in the laundry.

Went through the letters saved
in the box, you know,
the bittersweet,
the ones you’re not sure
if you should save
to poke again at that not-yet-
healed memory, the not so foolish
as to make you hang your head,
but sharp enough to squeeze your heart.

Went through the conversations bottled
in my mind, the ones where you said
this and I said
something reasonable, I must have
you know, I’m not sure
why it still hangs
in the air between us, a clean
break not permitted
and I can still be tossed
to the ground by desperate sorrow.

(The first stanza of this poem was ‘found’: it is a note written by my friend Dove about some tidying she did. I found it irresistibly poignant and compelling to riff upon.)

Shield your joyous ones

Storm clouds carry faces
so real I swear they speak:

be wary
do not squander fine days
remember happiness

You do not know the weather’s humours.

Their mouths twist to laughter,
then they are dogs,
curling away after their own tails

until howling and roiling, back they come,
forcing me to shelter
in a crashing deluge.

Yet in the street the lighthearted are dancing,
pant legs rolled,
filling buckets for the dry spells.

“Shield your joyous ones” is borrowed from St. Augustine of Hippo:

“Watch, O Lord,
with those who wake,
or watch or weep tonight,
and give your angels charge
over those who sleep.

Tend your sick ones,
O Lord Jesus Christ;
rest your weary ones;
bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones;
pity your afflicted ones;
shield your joyous ones;
and all for your love’s sake.”