On the days I don’t write poetry
My pen skids instead across a check; court fees covered, eviction evaded
I lock eyes with my best friend over her croissant and we explore practical, necessary questions, like
what kind of container can catch all the tears that fall from “this is not ok.”
I run my hands over my dog’s upturned belly and he wampishes in delight
I trudge into the office, past the human on the porch, hell-bent on staying there, living there, dying there; offer a smile
I tap out text messages of care:
I’m glad you’re sleeping inside
I’m sorry about your maladies
I’m sorry about your demons
I, too, hate having to bury anyone
You are beautiful. I see.
I’m glad you decided to live
I’m proud of you
I love you
I flip my eggs on the skillet, lace up my shoes, answer my phone, offer my recycle bin to a neighbor down the way, turn up the volume in the car and lose myself, momentarily, in the vibration
I light a candle for Linda, sip black coffee, read Rilke, text my parents, take my vitamins, floss my teeth
I breathe in compassion and exhale action every emotion
propelling me closer to the tender, tenuous, tenacious truth of love
the kind that is big enough to hold us all.
That’s what I do on the days I don’t write poetry.