in the vicinity, their days knot up
like taut red ties: rush to join the traffic,
shove water through a clump of grounds,
shake the recalcitrant child awake. me,
i’m clocking in at the old dream job:
the day sprawling itself across my bed
like a dawdling spill of chamomile,
and me, the day’s grateful towel,
sopping it all into pink as the sparrows
sing my praises from the parking lot.
i once thought the work of a lifetime
was finding out what doesn’t hurt.
now i wonder if that’s just
a prelude to a new kind of victory,
if this speck of mercy i’ve built
is some kind of brilliant hush
in cavernous space, like a choir
savoring the breath before the downbeat,
before drawing harmony out of silence.
M. E. Walker (he/him) is a queer Jewish storyteller, educator, and proud lifelong resident of Texas. His poetry has previously been published in The Trinity Review and Cathexis Northwest Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Instagram @mewalkerpoetryplus, and in the wreckage of Twitter @texasnotranger.