Have you been content enough being this content?

illustration of a mandala comprised of the objects of the poem--teeth, frogs, needles, pillows, steaming kettles, flowers, the word should.
Art by Kristina Closs


by Solmaz Sharif

Have you tried
rose hydrosol? Smoky quartz
in a steel bottle

of glacial water? Tincture
drawn from the stamens
of daylilies grown
on the western sides

of two-story homes?
Pancreas of toad?
Deodorant paste?

Have you removed
all your metal fillings? Made peace
with your mother? With all
the mothers you can? Or tried

car exhaust? Holding your face
to the steaming kettle?
Primal screamed into

a down-alternative pillow
in a wood while tree-bathing?
Have you finally stopped
shoulding all over yourself? 

Has your copay increased? 
Right hip stiffened?
Has the shore risen

as you closed up shop?
And have you put your weight
behind its glass door to keep
the ocean out? All of it? 

Rang the singing bowl
next to the sloping toilet?
Mainlined lithium? 

Colored in another mandala?
Have you looked 
yourself in the mirror
and found the blessed halo

of a ring light in each iris?
Have you been content enough
being this content? Whose

shop was it? 

from Customs