Sometimes, it seems the only thing in the world that is without dark thoughts


by Mary Oliver

I do not know what gorgeous thing

The bluebird keeps saying,

His voice easing out of his throat,

beak, body into the pink air

of the early morning.  I like it

whatever it is.  Sometimes,

it seems the only thing in the world 

that is without dark thoughts.

Sometimes it seems the only thing

in the world that is without

questions that can’t and probably

never will be answered, the

only thing that is entirely content

with the pink, then clear white

morning and, gratefully, says so.

from Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver


A jade box full of childhood fears

an illustration of a grackle on a yellow branched tree with a few things hanging of the branches-bread, a book, a heart
Art by Kristina Closs

Things the Grackles Bring

by Chen Chen

An eggy disaster. An opulently abandoned theatre. A jade box full of childhood
fears. A library book overdue & despised. A highway
beautification with a rerun of the full moon. An informercial
they would really like us to watch, in formalwear. Their aunties

who each bring just a thimble of thunder. Their grandmothers
who bring us geodes to crack: a jack, a jenny: Twins!
Reasonably priced dental plans! Fondue & dipping breads
but we’re already full. Other birds but we don’t care about them. Words

we’ve spoken to our parents that we would take back. That we wouldn’t.
The blue pen that exploded. What bees wear at night
when they want to feel sexy. The math of Halley’s Comet. A miracle
but we just couldn’t accept, no no, that’s far too much, you’re too kind, no.

Jasmine tea. Property tax. War but they see our hands
are already full of it. So. The notion that if we mourned every single person
killed just today. Learned the name & wept the name.
If we had the body. To grieve every body.

They bring it to our doorstep.

from Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced An Emergency

I could see the points on the flower’s stately crown soften and curl inward

The poetry and prose of Ross Gay (1974-) so often reminds me of all the beauty and joy in this intense world we navigate every day.

Art by Kristina Closs

“Wedding Poem”

for Keith and Jen

Friends I am here to modestly report
seeing in an orchard
in my town
a goldfinch kissing
a sunflower
again and again
dangling upside down
by its tiny claws
steadying itself by snapping open
like an old-timey fan
its wings
again and again,
until, swooning, it tumbled off
and swooped back to the very same perch,
where the sunflower curled its giant
swirling of seeds
around the bird and leaned back
to admire the soft wind
nudging the bird’s plumage,
and friends I could see
the points on the flower’s stately crown
soften and curl inward
as it almost indiscernibly lifted
the food of its body
to the bird’s nuzzling mouth
whose fervor
I could hear from
oh 20 or 30 feet away
and see from the tiny hulls
that sailed from their
good racket,
which good racket, I have to say
was making me blush,
and rock up on my tippy-toes,
and just barely purse my lips
with what I realize now
was being, simply, glad,
which such love,
if we let it,
makes us feel.

from Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude