The Smallest Kindness by James Crews

The Smallest Kindness

After I showered and dressed—
my one shining accomplishment
for the day—though every step felt like
wading through molasses, some pair
of merciless hands clamping down
on my temples, squeezing out every
drop of hope, still I noticed the sliver
of soap I’d left dissolving in its dish,
and decided to unwrap a brand-new
bar of sweet almond, which I know
is my husband’s favorite, and I held it
to my nose, breathing in the scent
of sugary croissants baking in an oven
before placing it face-up in the dish—
unmarred, untouched, unlike so much
in this life, now waiting for him to slide
the creamy silk of its lather across his skin.


James Crews is the editor of the best-selling anthology, How to Love the World, which has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as in The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. He is the author of four prize-winning collections of poetry: The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment, and his poems have been reprinted in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and The Christian Century. Crews teaches poetry at the University at Albany and lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

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