Is it okay to be happy today, when
the world is so sad? To fold into the arms
of pink and yellow, to carry my grief
like an Easter egg — fragile but vivid.
Maybe I’ll leave this sorrow among the leaves
of new grass, its green the pulse of breathing
and of ceasing to breathe; of all that ebbs
and flows again. Maybe I’ll string this sorrow
among the branches of the cherry trees
for the birds to weave into nests, or for the wind
to carry away. Maybe I’ll plant it deep
in the still-dreaming earth
and see what blooms.
This is what you named the rat you bought
from the pet store. White fur and red eyes
that narrowed and darted and never met yours.
Because you couldn’t afford a cage,
Valentine lived in a cardboard box
though it took him less than one night
to chew his way out and move into the cupboards.
But the apartment you shared with three other girls,
none of you yet eighteen, was empty of food
and furniture and parents and anyone
who could make a decent decision. You lived on
school lunches and leftover desserts
from the restaurants where you washed dishes. You slept
like four orphans curled together on one mattress.
You read poetry sometimes, for entertainment, Continue reading