I give you my thanks. Perhaps
you see that in my eyes, although
the only words I have left
are no doubt cruel.
I do not mean them because
I do not own them. Rather
they own me now, or at least my remainder,
to use as they will.
I do not wish this upon you, nor
would I have you know me this way.
So today I tell you plainly:
It’s not you, it’s me.
The one I curse, I don’t really see
at all, as you change and feed me.
I only recognize what I regret
and lack the words to name.
My grandmother, sweeter than brownies,
swore a blue streak when I fed her, oddly
ladylike and restrained because still
she knew and loved until the end.
So my thanks I give this day. Perhaps
my sorrow too if, reading this,
you are the one I knew and loved.
How I wished to spare you this me.
Forgive me and care for the man
instead who rose so early to pray while you slept:
Give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune
Soon it will be my turn to sleep in. Then,
in the light of full day, no longer
striving, let us greet the sun unscheduled
and rise together, with coffee.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.