Today, Mary Oliver saved my life.
I don’t mean metaphorically.
I mean that this morning I awoke
with Death on my mind, and now
I am merely unhappy.
I mean that I was sad, very sad,
and I snapped at my husband,
who nonetheless brought me the morning
coffee and a kiss. And even that
offering of goodness was insufficient
until I read about the dangle of edible
flowers in Mary’s honey locust tree,
and the stone-hard beauty of the world.
Then, I felt I could bear it—all of it—
the pain and indifference, the silken flower
I got up, and made my bed.
I ate a hard-boiled egg.
I wrote this poem.
I found my husband at the computer,
his eyes wary and worried.
I said, Good morning,
and kissed him atop his beautiful head.
He said, Is it? A good morning?
We drank our coffees. I saw then that each
slim and silvery hair of his was already counted.
Cover image by Jon Tyson.