I am grateful for the apricot cheek of my youngest daughter,
the down on the neck of my grandchild, sleeping. Yet I fail
to block the delicate fear that glides up my spine at the sight
of my son sliding limb-first like a greased sheep towards the net
and the goalie who awaits him. It’s a fine art, this mastery
of gratitude, essential to a life well lived, a peace-filled heart.
I am grateful to a friend who tells me I look sensual
as I walk out the door to meet with my ex-husband. Small
things matter. Nothing can be said of pelicans flying straight
across the mango sunset, for it is one of those everyday
events that steals breath and brings on prayer, reminding me
there is no such thing as the everyday. A new bloom
slowly reveals perfection on my camellia bush.
How have I been so blessed? Doubt goes into hiding
on a day like this, and I find gratitude for my mother
being in a better place, a place I can’t reach by phone
or letter; and I see her dancing on the patio
when she thought we were all asleep, lifting her skirt to her
knees in front of Dad’s friends that entranced summer evening.
I am grateful to have labored and presented gifts to earth
six times, a contribution rivaling Hercules and longer lived.
There is not enough space for all this thankfulness; it blazes
towards heaven. Was there anything better than the glass of chill
lemonade on a night in August when the grass fell down
in a swoon and the corn fields cried out for rain? I was so
grateful, there were no words, but letters trickled down
my throat with the zest of lemons. I will be grateful
for as long as I live, and beyond, but it is trickiest
in the hard times, times for which I will only be grateful
years later, and then, only when I know why it must be so.
Indian Shores, FL USA
Donated to Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Chicago Illinois