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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Small Things by Amy Sarah Gillespie


I

Forgive me father for I have sinned
There is a button missing
from the brown corduroy pants
the ones with the yellow bleach spot
on the lower right leg
(Replacing it isn’t necessary right now
I put on a few “winter pounds”)
There’s a button missing nonetheless

There is a button missing
A crack in the kitchen window
and a splatter of blood
A puddle by the basement door that fills
flows back inside and reforms
in front of the washer with the broken switch
The laundry pile resembles a landfill

There’s a button missing
Sloppy threads hang in its absence
and taxes hang over the house
like an ancient curse from a fortune-teller
the tires are bald as a newborn
the cat has a troubling lump in her side
the step by the front door is loose
the roof is sleeping on the job

I I

Forgive me mother, I am failing
The dishes are sliding off the table
(not the good china thank god)
the bills, too, are cascading
the roses remain woefully unpruned
the bathroom mirror is speckled
with toothpaste from a tube improperly squeezed
and there is still a button missing

Old teabags slump like drunken hobos by the sink
A spider-shaped stain on grandmother’s crocheted afghan
makes me flinch over and again, and I pray without ceasing
the dryer swallows the holes along with the socks
the paintings all hang crooked
the chimney genuflects and begs to be swept
and still, there is a button missing

There is a button missing
and I was not as gentle as I could have been,
should have been, when the baby broke my favorite mug
the one you gave me with the hand-carved leaves
the handle that so perfectly fit my hand
the “second” by the famous potter who died
so tragically in that snow-boarding accident
and for which I never sent you a thank you note

I I I

We do our days not knowing
how many are left, not knowing
their worth or if they even have any

We stitch and scrub, pay and scold
We move the thing from here to there
from there to somewhere else

We throw the broken things out
replace them with new ones
We eat and shit and fuck and cry and vomit
and clean it up

We drink and dance and learn and forget
Kill and caress and swallow our doubts
We sleep and

rise in the coldest hours
tiptoe to our secret corner
push our foreheads to the ground
and pray
before the Altar of Small Things

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