I’m reading The Little Flower
on the train out of London:
a book that says we can only do
small things with great attention.

Next to me, a suited, stiletto-heeled
commuter hides her title.
But when she leaves for coffee,
I look. Chapter one: Focus on your core

genius now! Reject rejection!
Sort out incompleteness—Now!
I think no human needs the stress
of so many exclamations in one life.

I breathe, look outside the window.
The grass, praise be, joyfully illiterate,
is free of such nonsense. It swaddles
every creature’s foot in tender ignorance.

The lemon balm I crush for tea
releases its scent when dying.
To suffer? To bear one’s cross?
So out of vogue.

Outside, magnolias lift their lemon
cups to no one and to everyone
whether or not we notice.
The world bears its loveliness

on broken limbs.
Perfection? Let us
begin by shattering
its unholy idols.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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