Brad Richard How One Goes On

In the mornings, there is coffee,
also four cats, and a huge bromeliad
that has not bloomed in years.
In the mornings, there is the kindness
of the one who brought the coffee
and set it on the nightstand—let the day
wait while it cools. Over breakfast,
there are planes crashing, flags falling,
empty words. After breakfast, it is important
to read several poems, even if they are bad,
and to coo goofy girl to the Siamese.
At noon, there is chicken, tomato slices,
and the memory of your mother reading
late at night with a cat in her lap.
One has no choice in these matters.
There lies the afternoon: it will be yours
until it isn’t. Will you pick up the shirts
from the laundry, pay the bills, dig up
the daylilies from the now too shady bed
and move them to a sunnier one? (Five years
since you dug them from her garden.)
There went the afternoon: dirt
clinging to the bathtub, the checkbook
unopened on the desk, the green shirt
you love on the kind one still waiting.
Here comes the evening, with its poem
you should have been writing, the one
where the history of bad ideas yields up
a face you can forgive. Not even words.
Evening, with all its unforgiven faces,
yours among them. A frog throbs, a night bird
sings from the sweet olive by your porch.
Night: grains of dirt under your fingernails,
whiskey dulling your mouth, the box
of her pulverized bones on a closet shelf.
Where is the kind one? When will he be home?
Morning: as if it will never come.


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